Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tricks of the academic conscience

I often have vivid dreams and I have, before, woken up screaming in a nightmare, or found myself out of breath when I woke up from shouting at someone in a dream.

On Sunday night I dreamed that I was trying desperately to finish my thesis before the deadline, and no matter what I did, or where I took my papers and laptop, I couldn't get it finished. Some people tried to help; others just kept getting in my way - not deliberately, just unthinkingly. And I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to persuade Registry to take it after the deadline. And I'll never know now, because my alarm went off before I got it there. And it took a good 20 minutes after I woke up from this panicking dream for the panic to subside and for my heart rate to get back to normal.

This would make sense if my thesis was due, but it isn't. Those of you who have been reading Falling Leaves for a while will know that I submitted my thesis over twelve months ago, and that submission day was a nightmare. But I didn't have such vivid panic dreams about thesis submission before I handed it in, and I haven't had them since. Until Sunday night.

Now, I have a couple of small projects that have to be completed soon, and I wonder if this dream is a way of making my get on with those things. When you are in state of perpetual finger crossing, motivation is hard to find. My academic conscience can't convince my subconscious to care about whether I get this book review finished on time, so it resorted to reminding me of a time when I really did care that something was finished on time, and it almost wasn't, and the panic I felt then.

Seems a little drastic though, for a book review deadline (extended twice though it may be). Nevertheless, it was a good trick; I'll be getting on with the review now.

I don't want to get any more reminders of a deadline like that one.

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