Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A nightmare I had gotten nowhere

I've been having some very stressful dreams (nightmares, even) in the past few weeks. Although I'm generally happy while I'm awake, I have been waking up in something of a panic, probably because I'm overwhelmed by all the important tasks before me.

Last night I dreamt I was back in Texas and was receiving e-mails from SOM as if I had been admitted (telling me about orientation and classes and so forth), but I suddenly remembered I was actually waitlisted, not accepted. In addition, I had been persuaded into taking a buyout from the Star-Telegram in light of the fact I was returning to school. After realizing I would not be going to school, I tried to get my old job back, only to find out that they were pretty happy I was gone and that they weren't going to be considering me for my old position. So I asked for, and got, my old job back at the newspaper in Corpus Christi, where I worked before I went to the Star-Telegram.

To be clear, in real life I loved working at that newspaper in Corpus. But in the context of the dream, being back there represented having failed at moving forward -- so much so, in fact, that I was moving backward. And I blamed myself entirely; I internalized that I had blown the opportunity at the Star-Telegram by not working hard enough.

I admit I have some insecurity about not working hard enough. I tend to assume everyone else is working constantly, and that when I'm not working, I'm falling behind. The other night, Mike and I hooked up my old Nintendo and conquered Super Mario 3. It was a lot of fun, but part of me couldn't help but ask -- shouldn't I be improving my resume, or researching companies, or doing some of the work I volunteered to do for the Media & Entertainment Club, or getting a head start on reading for the classes I'll be starting next quarter? I know there's a legitimate answer -- that it's OK and necessary to relax. But it's easier to say that than it is to truly believe it, when there are so many other things to do.

Maybe the real issue is that I need to switch to decaf.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That's some heavy stuff there! Our dreams really are keys into our soul. I think your dreams indicate what you've mentioned, your insecurities about how hard you may or may not be working, your mind adjusting to a new situation, and general anxieties about a big life change. I think it's completely normal, though it can't be easy to be rattled in your dreams that way when quality sleep is important. Maybe you are overanalyzing the situation, work hard, do what you have to do, apply yourself, and take some extra time to recharge your batteries. If you work yourself too hard, you run a few risks. Obviously you are there to study and to do well, but college and grad school are also opportunities for you to continue to explore yourself and make connections with people that are going to last beyond your scholastic years. Develop those relationships and take the time to sneak some fun and relaxation in there when necessary. If you work yourself to death and do nothing else, you will burn yourself out quickly and then you'll actually do worse at school. Overload is something to be wary of, just as not doing enough is a red flag. It might take you some time to find your rhythm and balance but I'm sure you will, just stay patient with yourself. I'm not sure there is anyone in your program that does nothing but study every waking hour even though it may seem that way. You can ask around and perhaps asking pointers from people doing well that have made it past their first year successfully wouldn't hurt. Everyone has their own pace and you just have to find the one that best suits you. If you see people from your program out and about at restauraunts, movies, activities, etc, it's probably safe to assume you are allowed. Don't set impossible standards to live up to, that will cause additional stress and it seems like you have enough personal pressure. Set realistic attainable high goals and priorities, do the work and invest the time into doing it well, push yourself to achieve but also allow yourself the freedom to breathe and regroup. Even the President has time to golf. I think it's an important step in maintaining sanity during stress, you need that time. A good game of Super Mario 3 never hurts. And hey, it's still using your brain ;p
    How funny you even mentioned it, I was just thinking of that game today (in reference to the 80s movie The Wizard, where the secret game at the end of the Nintendo Championships was revealed and it was SM3. It was the first time American audiences got to see it as it hadn't come out yet - great product promotion - and I remember salivating over it. Haha.)