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The dream


Oh my God! M-535: Advanced Topics In Differential Geometry, final exam 8:00 May 25: next Monday. I signed up for that course...but I never went to class--never even bought the textbook. I totally forgot about it. It's too late to drop the course now. And if I fail, I won't graduate and my job offer will fall through and....

Toss, turn: you wake up in a cold sweat and realise it was only a dream. Somehow, years ago, you did graduate, and this recurring nightmare is only a product of your mind recycling the anxieties of college days. This is ``The Dream,'' and almost everybody who survived college has it occasionally, even after decades.

The nightmare is so common it's been studied by psychologists. The funny thing is, it only seems to afflict people who eventually succeeded. Those who failed or dropped out don't have the dream.

Perhaps, a year or so after you've reached your weight goal and gotten used to thinking of yourself as thin and fit, you'll have a different dream.

Oh my God! I have just eaten an entire dozen jelly doughnuts. Mute but damning evidence is before me: the empty box, covered with my fingerprints already dusted by powdered sugar. I can't guess how many thousand calories it was and I lack the courage to look it up, but the scale will doubtless tell the tale....

Toss, turn: you wake up, dismayed and depressed, and in a few seconds, as consciousness seeps into your skull, you realise. It was only, like the years you spent overweight now increasingly seem, a bad dream.

By John Walker