Test-Taking and Classrooms
Jim, a self-employed contractor, dreamed that he was hurrying to make an 8:00 A.M. class. When he got there, the professor was passing out final exam booklets. He realized that he'd been to the class only a couple of times the entire semester and that he wasn't prepared for the exam.
Although it had been more than twenty years since Jim had graduated from college, he had this dream once or twice a year. The specifics rarely changed. Once he began to record and study his dreams, however, he understood that the dream usually occurred when he was facing a bid on a major project. Even though he spent weeks preparing figures on a prospective project, he rarely felt adequately prepared.
It's interesting to note what age you are in the dream. Are you the age you were when you were in school or the age you are now? If you're the age you are now, the test-taking dream is a metaphor for something you're currently experiencing.
For most of us, the examination dream follows a format similar to Jim's. In The Dream Game, Ann Faraday notes that most of these dreams occur when we feel we're being tested or examined by someone, as in a job interview, for example. Everyone feels unprepared at one time or another. The examination dream is often a reflection of an uneasy sensation of not being ready for something coming into your life.
When interpreting this type of dream, make note of whether you have an important deadline or are under extreme pressure in your waking life. If you're not, then ask yourself whether there is something in your life with which you feel unprepared to cope. In your dream journal, don't forget to record the dream in detail.
When you dream of being in a classroom, examine your surroundings and your reason for being there. Is there a positive feeling about the learning environment? Do you recognize the person teaching the class? What is the subject matter you're learning? Oftentimes, a classroom dream relates to a personal growth period you're going through.
A thirty-three-year-old woman who had recently joined a dream group related the following classroom dream. The dream had occurred eleven years earlier, when she was in college, and it had always puzzled her. She asked if anyone in the dream group had any idea what it could mean. As you read through this dream, take special note of the way the woman describes the lobby and classroom.
This dream is entitled “The Next Step”:
My friend Tanya and I are sitting in a lobby with perhaps a dozen other people of various ages and races. We aren't sure why we're there. There's nothing about the lobby to tell me exactly where it is. I feel very uneasy about this place. I go up to the information desk and ask the receptionist what we're waiting for.
“For the class to begin,” she replies.
“I didn't sign up for a class,” I tell her.
“You must have. You're here.”
Then she goes back to whatever she was doing, and I return to my seat. Not long afterward, she calls my name and Tanya's. We file into a college-style auditorium. It's crowded with people and brightly lit by a skylight. The color of the sky is odd, a kind of glowing cerulean blue.
The speaker is a well-known literary figure, whose name I forgot when I woke up but whom I had known died some years before. I suddenly realize I am in an afterlife classroom, about to be oriented to dying and to whatever happens next.
Afterlife dreams can be tricky because nine times out of ten, they're really visits to the Other Side—trips our subconscious refuses to acknowledge as real. These dreams are gifts. Write them down.
Several members of the dream group immediately associated the dream with reports from near-death survivors. The dreamer herself agreed, but she pointed out that no one had died around the time she'd had the dream and that she had never had a near-death experience. In fact, at the time of the dream, Raymond Moody's seminal book on near-death experiences, Life after Life, hadn't yet been published.
But the dream confirmed her belief in the survival of consciousness and triggered a lifelong interest in metaphysical topics. The dream recurs periodically, usually when the woman experiences a crisis of faith in her spiritual beliefs. But it always renews her belief in the path she has chosen.
When a teacher has a classroom dream, on the other hand, the meaning might be more practical than symbolic. This was the case in the following dream related by Bharata, the fifty-one-year-old director of the Sivananda Yoga Center in Lake Worth, Florida. He dreamed that he was the only teacher for two classes that were scheduled to meet at the same time, and he had to teach both classes, running back and forth from room to room.
In Bharata's case, the classroom dream was a reflection of his inner concern that he was teaching too many classes. Although he enjoyed teaching, his schedule included two or three classes a day, and he had been considering adding other teachers to lighten his load.