I have this recurring nightmare that is really annoying. Every time I wake up from it, a wave of total relief flows over me because it is not true anymore, although at one time it was a reality.
The nightmare? That I have not finished my degree and that there is only one course left—Calculus, although sometimes it is an obscure course that I never needed to take, like geography or the evolution of financial markets. I have discussed this nightmare with my colleagues and they, too, have had it. Several of my colleagues have a PhD and have been out of school for a while. I graduated in 2001. But this still arrives at least twice a year in my dream inbox. What’s up with that?
Of course I need to analyze it. I am a scientist and did psychology in university. I think too much. Oh, wait, that is probably why it keeps coming back. My over active brain! That and because for a while I never thought I would finish my degree. So, somewhere in time, that gem of a thought lodged itself in my neurons, waiting, lurking, to leap out and fool me from time to time. The irony is that I like math and did quite well in calculus in the end. It was organic chemistry that nearly killed me (although the tutor I paid told me that I did know it, I just could not answer the stupid questions correctly on a multiple choice organic chem exam!), so I am not sure why math always wins out. Maybe I have blocked the nasty organic chem memories (good for you brain!).
Over the years I have tried to isolate real events that might trigger the nightmare. But it never happens when I am stressing out, it is always when my life is quite calm. Now that I write that, I am having the thought that my brain cannot handle calm, and so it searches for something to stabilize it back to the jibbering jabbering highly resonant brain that it needs to be. Or perhaps my latent brain’s organic chemistry is working its mojo because it wants to go back to school?
I think the reason it is such a relief when I wake up is because I overcame the original obstacle. Many years ago I failed a biology course in university. It was the first and only course that I have ever failed. It was my forced year at university, right out of high school, and the entire year was a disaster. I did not bother with anything. Totally out of character, but perhaps a necessary step in life. I was moving to England and I am pretty sure I recall that there was more fun outside of school…About 6 years later, when I decided to go back to university, this failure haunted me and although it took a while, I took that same biology course (on the opposite side of the country…) and passed with an A. And I succeeded many times to get marks that ranged from C- to A+ and in no way did any of it stop me from succeeding in this world.
And I am not done yet, so dear brain of mine, keep trying to fool me, but I have the upper hand. I am in control of you, not the other way around.