The Packing Dream

In my dream, it’s the last semester of my last year. I either live in the dorms or off-campus. It’s finals week. Sometimes I haven’t studied for the exam. Other times I’ve failed to fulfill all the requirements for either my Russian degree or the engineering degree. I feel like my professors are extremely disappointed in me. In my dream I go to my advisor’s office and wait anxiously. The dream never shows the conversation.

The other part of the dream involves moving out. I have to finish packing all the stuff in my room, which is always a lot bigger than a real dorm room. I have books and furniture and decorations. Sometimes my dad is already outside with a moving van. Sometimes the struggle is to check my mailbox one last time before I return my keys. Sometimes I can’t find my keys.

In real life, I graduated college successfully with two degrees. I returned all my keys and never left any furniture behind. But apparently I’ve left something behind. In college I was full of ambition and motivation. I took heavy courseloads and volunteered in multiple organizations. I developed friendships. I worked a job and took care of my responsibilities. My dreamscape college life is completely different. In my dreams, I’m usually alone. I’ve failed to study or even attend classes in order to do well on the exam. I’m crippled by the inability to find boxes to put all my stuff in. I get yelled at by Resident Advisors inspecting my room, or cops giving me a parking ticket. I face disinterested office assistants who don’t know why I won’t graduate on time.

The last time I visited Columbia, SC, I was talking to my old campus minister about becoming a pastor. I was in Indiana, but I was attending a local Methodist church. I knew a had a sense of mission, but I just wanted some direction on how to go. When I went back to Indiana, I didn’t go to seminary. I eventually found myself in the Unitarian Universalist church. I wonder if my dream wants me to tell my old minister that I failed in my mission.

I have a best friend in college that I haven’t heard from in years. Together we learned about social justice and mental illness. Our relationship my last year of college was difficult. We reconnected after a few years and forgave each other. We lost touch again, and I haven’t reached out. She’s only a few miles away in Morganton. I wonder if my dream wants me to go back and talk to her.

My dad did not visit me in college. It was my mom and my uncle who drove the van to move stuff in and out. My dad visited once before graduation. It was when I was released from the hospital after having blood clots in my lungs. He saw my tiny studio apartment, and then we went out to eat. He drove home the same day. I wonder if my dad appearing in these dreams means I left something behind with him. I see my dad often, but I don’t ask him questions. Is he proud of me? Is he planning on reading my book? Or is he more worried about me paying him back for repairing my car? My dad doesn’t like questions. In truth, we’ve had more arguments about my personal life than productive discussions. I wonder if my dream wants me to have those discussions. If so, I’m going to keep having it. Neither of us are going to be talking anytime soon.

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