How to stop a recurring dream.

Wellesley-Mass-03_082-1024x680Autumn along Lake Waban, Wellesley College. Photo by Jeremy Edmunds.

I’ve been having a recurring dream for two years now. It’s my senior year at Wellesley, I’ve finally decided to pursue art, and I feel incredibly happy. But time is running out. I need to actually get my hands on the course catalogue and pick my classes. This is where the dream always ends—intending to get ahold of the course catalogue, but never quite doing it.

The meaning of the dream seems pretty obvious. But I keep having it, despite all the marvelous developments in my waking life. So it occurred to me that I might address this dream by actually downloading the 2012-13 course catalogue and planning my spring semester as if I were still a student.

Rules: It had to be offered in Spring 2013. (Goodbye, HIST 264: The History of Pre-Colonial Africa.) The schedule had to work out. (Dammit, ARTS 218: Introduction to Painting.) I had to take what I really wanted to take versus what I thought I should take. (Sorry, PSYC 334: The Psychology of Creativity.) And I had to satisfy the prerequisites, including for language. (Au revoir, entire French Department.)

And the choice was still agonizing. But here, friends, is my final spring class schedule:


CAMS 135: Introduction to Video Production. 12:30-4:10, M. Steffani Jemison.

Introduction to the principles of video production with emphasis on developing basic skills of recording with a video camera, scripting, directing, and editing short videos. 

ENG 281: American Drama & Musical Theater. 11:10-12:20, M-Th. Larry Rosenwald.

Study of some distinguished twentieth-century American plays, theater pieces, and musicals. Possible musicals: The Cradle Will Rock, Showboat, West Side Story, Chorus Line, Into the Woods, Chicago. Possible playwrights and ensembles: Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Lorraine Hansberry, the Bread and Puppet Theater, the Teatro Campesino, María Irene Fornés, August Wilson, David Henry Hwang, Tony Kushner, Anna Deveare Smith. Focus on close reading, on historical and social context, on realism and the alternatives to realism, on the relations between text and performance. Opportunities both for performance and for critical writing. 

CLCV 106: Daily Life in the Ancient World. 1:30-2:30, Tu-F. Ray Starr.

Daily life in ancient Greece and Rome, from the ordinary activities of everyday life (family life; work and leisure; shopping, cooking and eating; games and entertainment; going to see a gladiatorial show or an athletic contest or a play; parties) to the turning points of an individual’s life (birth, initiation into adulthood, marriage, childbirth, old age, death). The rhythm of a year as expressed in festivals and holidays. The practices, customs, and shared beliefs that gave meaning and structure to the lives of both individuals and cultures. A mix of lecture, discussion, and case studies based on the lives of real people. Assignments drawn from a wide variety of ancient sources in translation, from cookbooks to personal letters to tombstone inscriptions to some of the greatest literature in the Western tradition. 

ANTH 239: Visual Culture of South Asia. 2:15-4:45, W. Deborah Matzner.

The Indian subcontinent is iconic for its rich and varied visual traditions—from Mughal miniatures to calendar art,monumental architecture to television soap operas. With the spread of “Bollywood” films beyond the subcontinent, and with American television now representing Indian culture during prime time, an anthropological perspective on South Asian visual culture is particularly timely. In this course, we will examine many of the diverse visual forms and practices of the region from an anthropological perspective—that is, focusing on the social practices and cultural formations that arise around and shape them. We will learn how anthropologists study South Asian visual practices including photography, film, textiles, and comic books, and assess the implications of these practices for Western theories about visuality and modernity.

and CONTINUING YOGA: 4:10-5:10, M-Th.


…I feel better.

I wonder if the dream will go away now. Or if it will change.

botanicgardentreesSpring in the Botanical Garden, Wellesley College. Photo by Wellesley College.

8 Comments on “How to stop a recurring dream.”

  1. Never thought about handling a recurring dream in this way, but it makes perfect sense. I have a somewhat similar dream, but in it I’m at the end of a semester and realize I forgot to go to any of my classes. By your system I should probably actually go back to school, which I have wanted to do, so perhaps it’s simply a push to be proactive. Thanks for the straightforward thinking!

  2. Never thought about handling a recurring dream this way, but makes perfect sense. I have similar dream but it’s the end of the semester and I’ve forgotten to attend all my classes. By your logic I probably need to be proactive about wanting to go back to school. Thanks for the straightforward thinking!

  3. This was a really funny post!! 🙂 I only wanted you to say also that a criterion was “take the best profs no matter what”–but I am sure that your S13 Wellesley faculty lineup is exactly that. YUM!

    • Yes, Jule! Larry Rosenwald and Ray Starr are both legendary, and I never got to take classes with either of them, much to my sadness. I haven’t heard of the other two, but I’ll assume they’re great 🙂

  4. Ashley Davis says:

    Fun post! If only… (Random aside: Larry was my wife’s favorite professor, and he officiated our wedding. 🙂 )

  5. Susan says:

    My daughter sent me this blog post! Did I tell her about my post-Wellesley recurring dream? I had it occasionally over a couple of decades! In the dream I had graduated from Wellesley, but had been told I had to go back to do an additional semester or year in order to complete my degree. All sorts of obstacles arose…the courses I wanted weren’t available, I had problems getting a room in a dorm, all my friends had already left Wellesley, etc! I think it all stemmed from not being satisfied with the work I had done for a course in my senior year. I haven’t had the dream for a long time now, so I guess I finally let go of that course! One thing, however… the campus was always as beautiful in my dreams as it had been when I was there!

    • Haha, that’s wonderful, Susan! And all too familiar. Yes, the campus is always beautiful in my dreams, too…and there are parts of it I’ve never seen before, parts I discover anew…

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