Dream of the Month (January 2002)
- Title: Pre-Exam Panic Attacks
- Date of the Dream: 12/23/2001 (mailed Sunday, 23 December 2001)
I was in the middle of an examination period (not certain if it was college or university,) and was walking towards the exam hall to sit for a paper. Just before getting into the exam hall, I realized that I was meant to sit for an Economics paper, which I was totally not prepared for. A huge sense of panic struck me at that point and I realized that the options then were either to not sit for the exam altogether, or to sit for it but definitely not score at all since I was completely not prepared for it. The dream ended abruptly with me still in the state of panic, but no “conclusion” per se.
- Significant life event: I was recently made redundant (early November 2001) and am now looking for a new job. This is the first time for approximately 1 year that I've dreamt the same exam dreams.
- Personal concerns/issues: I always felt that the dream relates to my job/career more than to other aspects of my life.
- Associations: My first reaction to these dreams is that I'm ill-prepared or not equipped to do my job - PR consultancy. Hence, perhaps I should quit the industry and do something else. However, in real life, I'm not an underperformer and I feel that I do my work well. I also read in a book before that such dreams are indicative that the dreamer is aspiring to do bigger things in life (apparently, Coca Cola or Pepsi's CEO was documented to also have such type of dreams before he made it to CEO). I stopped dreaming these dreams after being made account director in my company (up from senior consultant in another firm before), but now it is coming back.
- Pen Name: Janice
Dr. Holloway's Comments:
Identifying Characteristics: Academic examinations in dreams typically coincide with real-life challenges that trigger the desire to achieve and be recognized by others.
Exam dreams are a rather prevalent contemporary theme, more common to high achievers who would never drop the ball on a goal or arrive unprepared to an important event. These dreams tend to recur sporadically, appearing during periods of peak stress, task overload, or the refusal to re-evaluate a manic schedule.
If we look beyond the surface theme, however, the tension behind the dream makes a kind of sense. It is the story of a crisis brought on by distraction that has created amnesia regarding long-term priorities. People who have this dream almost always achieve their professional goals; that is not their issue. Their challenge lies in remaining conscious of more subtle internal hungers and giving respect to aspects of themselves that are not likely to win recognition or positive evaluations. It’s fine to charge ahead and make a name for yourself, but take care to nurture the other elements in life that are also necessary ingredients to fulfillment and balance. If you do so, you are one of the lucky people who are likely to manage to “have it all.”