Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Anxiety Realities

I used to have a lot of anxiety dreams related to college. These usually involved a sudden realization that two months had passed and I had not attended a single class. Then I'd be wondering if it was too late to go drop the classes before getting the inevitable failing grades.

Another one involved taking exams when I hadn't actually been to the class or opened the textbook. I'd be sitting there staring at the questions on the exam paper and feeling totally perplexed. (I swear, in one of my dreams, the professor had the audacity to ask, "do I know you? What's your name? I haven't seen you before." Truly embarrassing.)

In my dreams, I simply want to get up, hand in my blank exam and leave as quickly as possible. However, being the first to hand in a paper and leave usually implies that you are the self-confident asshole who knows all the answers. And I never wanted to call attention to myself in the classroom. So I'd sit there, pretending to contemplate possible answers where I didn't even understand the questions, and wait until one or two other students were done. I would then grab my paper and place it in the pile on the professor's desk before making a dash for the exit.

Although I haven't had those particular anxiety dreams in awhile, today I was having similar anxieties in my waking state, but almost the reverse scenario. I am in control of the questions, but nobody out there is giving me answers, either correct or incorrect. Life can be pretty sweet when you have 95% of the answers. I'm one of those people who feels like I am doing pretty good when I have 75% to 80% of the answers.

Sometimes though, all you have are a bunch of questions and very few answers. And those are the days in life when you just want to slither out of the classroom unnoticed and head to the nearest bar and get ripped.

All of this brings me to another question: do teachers and professors have anxiety dreams in which none of the students pass the exams, or in which none of the students bother to show up for class? Or do the professors have anxiety dreams in which they have failed to show up for class for weeks at a time?

(And in 2010, do they still have exam papers? Seems like we would have moved beyond that by now.)

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