One of my most common dreams is that I’m back in college and rushing around trying to keep up with all of my class responsibilities. The college campus is often very elaborate and interesting, and it’s always familiar to me in my dream even though it isn’t like anywhere I’ve been in real life. Invariably, there’s a class that I realize I’ve forgotten to attend all semester! Sometimes it takes me a little while to realize that it was only a dream and I’m not really behind in my work.

I’ve heard that this is a pretty common dream among anyone who went to college. But a couple of times, the dream has gone even further. I dreamed that I found out I hadn’t officially graduated from high school for some reason, so I was back in my high school for another year! Oddly, I wasn’t upset by this at all– maybe because I felt like I had missed something my first time through, and this would be a chance to get back on track.

Well, in the real world, I have just started taking classes for a two-year Web Programming major, and at times it’s felt a little bit like I’m in one of those dreams! The reason is that I’m coming from the point of view of someone who’s already had seven years of college, and I’m in classes that some people are taking directly out of high school.

It’s also a chance for me to “fill in the gaps,” because I studied a lot of the theory of things like document and Web design when I was at Texas Tech, but because my undergraduate majors were in totally different areas, I didn’t have any of the hands-on, practical skills that students usually get before they try to get a master’s degree. When I started, I didn’t really even know what technical communication was!

Well, now I can finally get the training in computer languages that I never got, and I can’t wait to start learning about them! It’s been strange going through the process of orientation and the first classes along with college freshmen. The professors are explaining things about success in college (like that they actually want you to go to them with questions) that I was only able to learn through hard experience. I’m actually able to relax a little bit because I feel like I’ve been here before and I think I know what to expect this time.

One of the strange effects of relaxing a bit more, though, has been that I’ve felt, well– stupid. When I was starting at Cedarville, I was too nervous to reveal when I didn’t understand something or had made a mistake, so maybe I made fewer mistakes, but I was also more stressed.

When I was going through orientation a week ago for these courses, I was so scatter-brained that I felt like an airhead at times. I couldn’t remember the time of the orientation, so I came early and ended up taking care of most of the orientation tasks like getting an ID and a parking permit on my own (essentially doing things backwards). At least the campus security officer who took my ID picture thought I was smart to avoid the rush by coming in separately from the group.

When orientation actually began, I was preoccupied with installing software on my computer for class, and the group got ahead of me, and I actually lost them! After a lot of wandering around, I finally found them. They were relieved that I had already taken care of most of the stuff they needed to help me with on my own.

To cap it off, I somehow left for home without my orientation material and my schedule planner. The next day, I was back in the campus security office looking through the lost and found. I joked that I was really doing well, losing my schedule planner on the very first day! (I actually didn’t realize until yesterday that I had left my orientation material behind too; thankfully, I’m pretty sure I don’t need it anymore.)

It’s strange feeling this out of it. It brought to mind one of those silly Facebook “Which character are you?” quizzes I took about Harry Potter. My result was Luna Lovegood, which is unsurprising as she’s my favorite character, but I have to think I seem a bit “loony” to others, wandering around trying to find my disappearing possessions. Overall, though, it’s probably better for me to be stupid and relaxed rather than smart and uptight.