Why do I dream of being back in school?

I had a dream the night before last that prominently featured a school that I went to as a child.  Since one of the questions I am most frequently asked is “why do I dream of being back in school,” I thought I’d share a term from my upcoming dream dictionary with you.

High school

Universal Landscape:  Passage from adolescence to adulthood.

Dreaming Lens:  How do you feel about being back in this time period?  Are you experiencing anxiety or nostalgia for days gone by?  Are you experiencing yourself as noticed or invisible; stuck or safe?  Are you with present-day friends, or your high school circle?

Personal Focus:  The primary symbolic meaning for this image is deeply connected to your own personal experience of this period in your life.  In a general sense, high school is where most of us learned life lessons of responsibility, sexual identity as well as where we built the foundation for the directions we took as grownups.  However, the overall experience of this turbulent time varies from person to person and can range from fun and joyous to excruciatingly painful.  When you dream of high school in a dream, your unconscious is expressing emotional issues that have their root at this time in your history.

As a common dream, most people experience this related to performance anxiety.  High school represents the first time as individuals that most people are faced with a level of responsibility that is most like what we deal with in the adult world.  When our current lives spark insecurity about our readiness to face life’s tests, we may express unconscious fears by returning unprepared to this time and suffer the humiliation of being lost, not knowing the schedule, not being ready for an exam, or even finding ourselves naked.

The lessons faced in adolescence were, for some, accompanied by mistakes being cleared up for us by parents or other authority figures.  As such, this dream image could indicate an unconscious wish to have the burden of adult responsibilities magically disappear as if someone else could handle them for us.
If the dream is uncomfortable, look to present stressors that may feel burdensome in the same way you felt as a teenager.  The pressure to perform at certain levels is a major theme of the high school experience.  This may be revealing issues of performance anxiety in your current life.  Inherent in this image is the fear of facing the expectations that others may have of you.  Examine your current life for issues of this nature and you will be well on your way to an accurate interpretation.

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56 Responses to Why do I dream of being back in school?

  1. Renee Robbins February 15, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    That’s just too weird Matthew Have almost the same exact dream! Failing 12 th grade..when I never failed a class. The feeling of hopelessness…I keep wondering in my dream why I am I still here? And that Geez I’m never gonna get out of here…I also can’t find my way to classes get lost and wake up before I ever find them…sometimes I will dream that I can’t remember locker combination..alot of similarities in our dreams..the weirdest to me that I too hated high school till around the 10th grade but that’s when I changed high school. This is crazy it’s almost like I wrote that post.. I have been having my dream for 20 plus years although not as frequent as of late…too too weird. I wonder if maybe we have had similar experience s in life or something..also I wonder how common it is for people to have such similar Dreams…

  2. Golden Phoenix March 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    Why do I dream of getting a bad high school for failing my exams?

  3. Michelle March 24, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    I usually always dream about myself in my elementary school. And its usually some bizarre dream with both people from present day as well as people who hated me in elementary 😀 no clue why tho.

  4. Isabella Curtis March 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    I seem to dream this basic theme constantly. Sometimes my fellow students are from one of the two high schools I attended, sometimes they are people from my life now, or sometimes they are people I don’t know at all. But the one thing that stays the same is I don’t remember what class I am supposed to be in that period, and consequently miss that entire class. My “friends” in the dream all seem a little concerned, but I always shrug and say I’ll probably remember next time.

  5. nicole geist April 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    very helpful.

  6. Adrienne May 4, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    I graduated in 2005. Over the last several years I’ve had recurring dreams where I’m forced to go back to school.. And in them, I’m always crying and saying how I already graduated and don’t want to go through hell again…(school was a very traumatizing time for me).. I really wish I knew what was causing me to have them cause I’m getting really sick of it..

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