Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A new type of school anxiety dream

Almost everyone seems to have had anxiety dreams about school. There's a test and you haven't studied for it—indeed, you've never even been to class, and you haven't bought the books, either. You can't find your locker, or you can find your locker but you can't remember the combination.

Professors have their own versions of the school-anxiety dream: There's a classroom of students waiting to take a test, but the professor hasn't written the exam yet. Or the professor has no pants on, or is about to lecture on a topic he or she knows nothing about.

Well, this morning I awoke in a nervous state as a result of a new twist on the school-anxiety dream: I dreamed that Ben was enrolled in two schools at the same time, but he hadn't ever gone to one of them. How would he pass kindergarten at a school he'd never attended?? Oh, the maternal angst I felt! School anxiety by proxy.

Next thing you know, I'll start having those "unsuitable toilet" dreams on Ben's behalf, too.

19 comments:

Cricket said...

Or you can dream about him saving urinal cakes in his pockets - just saw that Vince Vaughan movie again.

When you dream the school stuff, is it always the same place, a place you went to school? For me, it is always the school I attended for just one year, the 7th grade. I guess I can conclude that that was my most stressful year?

You've now provided me new avenues for my dreamworld. Thanks.

Orange said...

Cricket, my school dreams are almost all college dreams. Most often, I'm trying to get moved into the dorm, but my husband or kid may be there, too. I used to have the collegiate version of the locker dream: I didn't know which campus PO box was mine and hadn't checked my mail, so I didn't have my class schedule. Or it's the end of the trimester, and I can't graduate unless I do well in the class I've never attended. Or I'm just woefully behind on the assigned reading and can't get caught up—the procrastinator's nightmare of Consequences for One's Sins of Omission.

Charlie said...

I never had a school anxiety dream until several years after my first year of college (which was also my last). After that, I began having dreams that I'd forgotten to drop a class and that failing the class was going to land me on academic probation somehow.

I think it's kind of odd that I never had these dreams when they might've actually been useful.

Mona Buonanotte said...

I still have nightmares that I'm in elementary school on test day. Probably because it was one of my first and biggest fears. Luckily, I don't have them very often, they've been replaced by better 'adult' dreams.

The Curmudgeon said...

Sometimes I have the math test dream -- it's a college setting -- I didn't study -- I had no idea what would be on the test. I panic... and wake up. It's so vivid, probably because I didn't quite finish my math major.

Sometimes I have the 'I can't find the final' dream:I'm wandering up and down the halls of the classroom building, looking to see if I can remember what the professor looked like. This dream is vivid, too, because this actually happened to me. It was a macroeconomics course; it was very easy. I showed up just a couple of times before the mid-term, and I did fine. All I had to do was follow the syllabus... and then I lost the syllabus.

I should have showed up at class and begged another copy of the syllabus. That would have been the responsible thing -- but, no, I stopped going altogether and then, on the day of the final, really did pad up and down the halls looking to see if I could remember what the instructor looked like.

I found the prof -- talked my way into an 'incomplete' and got a B by doing a paper a couple of weeks later. But I do worry about what my kids will do/are doing in college -- one just graduated, but two are still in (and two still to go). (I can't tell a lot of my best college stories in the presence of my children, not for another ten years anyway -- and some of my friends, who don't yet have kids as old as mine, don't understand why....)

But, Orange, stressed as I've gotten over the kids in college -- I don't think I stressed at all about how they'd do in kindergarten. How are you going to get through the next 16 years?

DoctorMama said...

My kid doesn't appear in my dreams almost ever. Should he? It's been two years.

I don't have school dreams; my version is being on stage having to play violin, when I haven't touched the thing for twenty years. The setting is that I've assured someone that I can play well, and suddenly I'm being called on it, before a crowd of eager listeners. I get sweaty just thinking of it.

E. said...

I have at least one teaching anxiety dream every August, which always pisses me off because I feel like my job is coming in to impinge on my summer vacation before it's really over.

My teaching anxiety dreams usually involve me being at least five miles away from the classroom where I should be teaching at that very moment with insurmountable circumstances keeping me from getting there. Toward the end of my fourth year of teaching at the high school where I currently teach, I had this awful nightmare where I realized I'd only "taken" English classes at this school so I wouldn't be able to "graduate." Hm. Analyze that.

Feral Mom said...

For some reason my anxiety dream is an acting one, though I've only been in a handful of plays (all before 1985) and can't act my way out of a paper bag. It's always a musical, my solo is up, I can't remember the words to the damn song, my throat constricts, I look down, and I'm fucking naked. Agggggghhh!

What do you suppose it means?

Orange said...

Charlie, I reckon I've had many more school anxiety dreams in the (counting on fingers) 18 years since I finished school than in the 4 years I was actually in college.

Mona, you're a kid in your dreams? I'm generally an adult, married with a kid, in my current crop of collegiate anxiety dreams.

Curmudgeon, great. You've planted a new anxiety seed in my head. It's very Reader's Digest—Nightmare in Real Life.

DoctorMama, at least you're not naked on stage like Feral Mom!

E., my can't-get-there anxiety dreams tend to focus on the transportation industry. The bus doesn't come, I can't find the train, I'm racing through the airport...or the elevator goes sideways instead of up and down.

Feral, don't they say these dreams reflect fears of being found out as an impostor. I'll bet you're nervous that your blog readers will find out you're actually quite genteel and can't even burp.

flea said...

No! Not the unsuitable toilet!!

Orange said...

Oh, yes, flea. The dirty toilet, the high toilet, the toilet stall with no door, the toilet with an audience that refuses to leave. It is time for the next generation to be so afflicted, even if it's only in my dreams.

Charlie said...

I once caught my high school math teacher sitting on the toilet in a bathroom stall with no door. The look on his face was priceless.

Just think, this whole conversation can come full circle if I have nightmares about Mr. Webb tonight.

JT said...

I never have school dreams, thank G-d. I do, however, have plenty of journey nightmares, which involve me dealing with everything from packing to tickets to getting lost to long lines. Generally, I'm trying to get home from somewhere, and it's like a non-funny Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

Oh, wait. I didn't think the movie was funny, either.

Anyway, adding to the panic is often an element of "I've got to get to my kid" or "I can't find him" or something.

Now I'm feeling panicked. Waiter? More wine, please!

Dawn said...

Christ on a cracker, I STILL have those locker/combination dreams...

Dharma said...

Oh Orange! You have those bathroom dreams too. I thought I was the only for YEARS until I found out my mother had them too. There's something you never think will get passed on to the next generation - the same freaking anxiety dream. While, I appreciate the lousy that are those dreams, it's nice to know there are others suffering alone with me.

springbreakgal said...

unsuitable toilet dreams be damned!!! i keep having those. what's up with that?

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