I still get college anxiety dreams. Had two just in the last week. I never have exactly the same dream, but I’m always either late for an exam, for which I haven’t studied, or I suddenly realize, OMG, I haven’t been going to any classes and midterms are coming. In fact, wait–where are my textbooks? Why I get these kind of dreams, decades past college, is beyond me. I don’t remember collegiate life being all that stressful–at least nothing I couldn’t handle. What gives, subconscious? I’m guessing these dreams are protection against the source of my real-time anxiety, my writing, or more specifically this manuscript. that I am still fixing, several months past the deadline I’d set for myself. Things could be worse. I could be dreaming about agents rejecting me, or editors hating any manuscript I send. These are nightmares that could be all too real.
Kids these days, under more pressure than previous generations, are going to have much richer fodder for anxiety dreams. My poor 16-year-old, Vanessa, has been feverishly studying for a European history exam that’s going to include such questions as, “Compare and contrast all the wars of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries,” and “How do social constructs differ from the 18th century to the 20th century?” She not only had to study all the major developments in Europe from 1400 on, but be prepared to tackle sixteen different short answer questions and a half-dozen essay questions.
I’m feeling grateful at how easy creative writing seems in comparison. Thank you, Vanessa! She should be out of her exam about now. Her work’s over; time for mine to begin.