Monday, January 17, 2011

Anxiety Dreams: Post-Secondary Edition

I'm sure that most people who attended a post-secondary institution have had anxiety dreams about missed classes, surprise final exams and so on. My school-themed anxiety dreams usually follow this pattern:

1) I'm in an exam room preparing to write my last final, when I suddenly realize that I missed a class in grade 7 or 8, nullifying all of my educational progress.

2) I return to junior high to start school over again from that point.

3) I slowly realize that I did, in fact, earn my bachelor's degree many years ago, and that the year must be (the current year), not 1991.

4) I realize that I'm dreaming, and I have a few moments of lucid dreaming before I awaken.

Last night's dream, however, took on a slightly different form. This time, I was in a fourth-year mathematics class, populated by my current crop of friends and coworkers. I was struggling to follow the teacher's lecture because even though I'd somehow gotten into her class, I hadn't taken a math course since high school, and even then I was a strictly above-average student. I wasn't nearly ready for calculus, or whatever she was describing.

Fortunately the dream's setting shifted to a bookstore, an environment far more appealling to me than math class. Here I discovered that Alberta Liberal MLA Kevin Taft was secretly the ghostwriter of a popular series of crime novels.

In just a few months it will have been twenty years since I graduated. Do these dreams ever go away? Or are they a symptom of impostor syndrome?

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