Monday, December 18, 2006

Worst part of being back in school? The nightmares

For many years after I got my Bachelor's degree from UCSD, I had nightmares about being back in school. But I haven't had them for a while... until this weekend. Now they seem to be back with a vengeance. Oh joy.

So I'm in class taking a final exam. The final exam has a very weird format: there are two questions, and you get ten minutes for each of them. Not twenty minutes for the test, but you actually are given one question, then you turn it in at the ten minute mark, then you are given the other question. Furthermore, the questions themselves are pretty ugly. You have to write code, on your paper, without a computer, and it has to compile and run correctly when the professor types it in later. For you non-coders, I should mention that writing code that runs perfectly with no testing is not a skill many normal people have, even very experienced programmers. It is often largely a matter of luck.

A few minutes into the test, I have written one line, and suddenly I lose a contact lens. I go to the bathroom, and for some reason I cannot get it back in for a long time. When I get back, the test is over.

I plead with the professor: come on! This was beyond my control! I need more time to finish! The professor finally says, "All right, you can have four more minutes to finish both questions."

One minute in, I wake up. I immediately panic: No! I can't leave the classroom! I have to go back to sleep and finish the test! It takes me several more minutes to calm myself down and convince myself that the test was not, in fact, real.


  1. Anonymous6:39 PM

    That reminds me of dreams I use to have in med school. In the dream, I'd be doing some procedure and just as I was a step away from completion, the dream would end or I would wake up. It was really disconcerting. I would wake up panicked and sweaty. Wierd.

  2. Anonymous11:59 AM

    I, too, have written code by hand. I agree, it's not fun at all! I bet I'll be having similar dreams in the years to come. My school-related dreams always seem to involve me forgetting something important, like my locker combination.