Monday, March 22, 2010

OMG I never finished that paper! Oh wait, yes I did. 20 YEARS AGO.

So I dreamed, once again, that I had failed to write my thesis/complete an assignment/pass a class in graduate school, and never finished my degree.  And once again, finding consciousness through the thick fog of that tiresome anxiety, I had to remind myself that the degree has been mine almost two decades now, and at this point, nobody's going to call to rescind it, and even so, who the fuck cares?  I have children of my own sleeping down the hall. I have years of professional experience behind me.  I'm a home-owning, tax-paying, advice-giving, issue-voting, blog-writing, major appliance-buying, opinion-spouting, child-rearing grownup for heaven's sake, and not intimidated by much anymore, at that.  Except, evidently, in my sleep.

So I'm wondering:  How old do I have to be not to have these stupid school-related anxiety dreams?  Is there some internal switch I can flip that'll turn them off - or will I wake occasionally as a little old grandmother, momentarily convinced that I still have to turn in some wretched paper or exam?  Because if I can just convince my subconscious that, yo, I am too dang old to still be pulling this crap on myself, then that would be one aspect of the tedious midlife crisis I could happily embrace.


  1. Sandy, I'm sorry to have to tell you that at the age of 55, more than 30 years after I finished law school, I *still* have nightmares occasionally in which I find out that I didn't really have enough credits to graduate, and have to go back.

    So I think that the trauma of higher education is designed to follow us forever.

    On a message board I belong to that's frequented by parents of college students who are around my age, there's an entire thread on the subject of "missed the final" and other anxiety dreams:


  2. (I mean the parents are around my age, not the college students!)

  3. Hi Donna!

    I am sorry to hear that, but I suspected as much. It's sort of comforting to read all those adults' accounts of basically the same dream (mine is usually the I-never-went-to-the-class-and-have-to-take-the-final variety). I like the idea of getting your subconscious to the Registrar to drop the course.

    Such a rewarding, valuable experience -- and it scars us, deeply and for life!

  4. Another anonymous lawyer, Law School cured my anxieties, that and trusting to a higher power. I was a night school Law Student, class came in with almost 300, we had to speak in front of the "class" each student with a turn in the barrel, 5 minutes, with the cruel professor demeaning your view, down the list--so you knew when your turn came. I had palpitations, sweating like crazy, before my turn I wanted to flee as others had. People literally got up and left as their turn came, a couple fainted or got sick. I had to face the fear otherwise the goal was not going to be reached. I did and magically I who had been an anxious person all my life calmed, I did feel the power of a spirit with me--and I will always be grateful. The half of us who got beyond the fear of public speaking and humiliation moved on. The power of fear or the power of will, which wins is the test.