The Final Exam
I’m taking my final exam in college. The room is a large hall with cubicles around the outer perimeter. These cubicles are more like the spaces at the fair where you throw balls at bottles or pop balloons with darts. In other words, we sat “outside” the cubicle, seated not at desks but with a countertop that served as a table top.
Each of us was facing a wall that is ten or twenty feet away, “room” area being perhaps ten to fifteen feet wide. There is no furniture in the room, but on the wall directly facing me are two minimalist pieces of art. I’m seated facing this empty space in front of me.
On the countertop is the final exam question on a white 3 x 5 notecard that is face down.
At the designated time we are told to turn the card over. On the card there are six letters written: n s l m r p
I am staring at these letters and have no clue what they mean BECAUSE I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT CLASS THIS IS FOR.
Is this an art class? Philosophy? Psychology?
One of the instructors is seated in a chair beside me and the professor is standing behind me. I want to ask what class it is, but by asking I am revealing something about myself, that I am lost instead of confident. Fear keeps me from asking, for it suggests I was not prepared for the exam.
In the dream, while I’m sitting there I’m thinking about how I’ve spent the entire semester trying to keep my girlfriend from killing herself. I begin wondering, though, if I’m only trying make excuses for not being ready for the exam and not being able to remember what class this is. I want to say that I’d know what the letters meant if I knew what class this was.
I even seem to remember being told that this question would be on the final: “Write six short essays on the six main points of the class which began with these letters.”
This examination would determine whether I Pass or Fail, but WHAT CLASS WAS THIS TEST FOR? All the while I am thinking about how frustrating this whole situation is, and seemingly meaningless, being tested in this way.
I awake, completely stressed out.
12 December 2020