Why Do I Keep Dreaming About Missing Class When I’m Not Even In School?

It’s a few weeks into the semester and for some reason I still don’t have my schedule memorized. I’m only going to, maybe, three of my classes on a regular basis and I feel totally overwhelmed.

In addition to all this, there is one class that I have never gone to all semester. And now that it’s been a few weeks since classes started, it’s pretty much too late to go now. I figure out what the class is – or at least I think I know what the class is – so I go check it out. I have no text book though. I don’t even know what the teacher is talking about. Am I even on his class roster?

I never go back to the class because, well, it’s just too damn awkward. And then come the semester’s close, I get major anxiety that I am going to fail a class.

Then I wake up.

Because this was all just a dream.

I graduated four years ago.

Why the fuck am I still having panic-attack-induced dreams about college?

This isn’t the only recurring dream I have with this issue. I’ve have dreams about high school classes too. I constantly dream about forgetting and/or losing my high school schedule and not knowing what my next class is or where I have to go for it. I have dreams where I  haven’t shown up to a specific class (usually science class because… science?) all year. I have dreams about English class… A LOT of dreams about English class… where I either freak out about having to go to class because I didn’t read a book or write a paper. It’s never-ending.

So why am I having these dreams?

I have no fucking idea.

Why are fears I had years ago still ingrained in my mind?

Is it because I was SO afraid of forgetting about classes, tests, and papers back then that the fear sticks with now? Is it because I’m physically a grown up but mentally still a child? Is it because I’m crazy?

Who knows.

Has anyone else had these types of dreams before or am I just straight up nuts?

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

57 Comments
  1. ive had the exact same dream over and over. i know my schedule at the beginning of the semester, but somehow forget one class. half way through the semester i realize it and try to go to the class, but its super awkward and i dont have the textbook. other classes i keep skipping because im too embarassed to show up without the homework. i finished college 6 years ago, still have these dreams.

    1. Mine is math class also! Has anyone figured out this answer???? Why are we all here having the same dreams lol

    2. Same! I can never find my classroom because I don’t have my schedule and the office can’t help me so I never go to the math class and have to take the test the last day ..recurring nightmare!

  2. Me too! I just googled, why do I dream about missing a college class. I also graduated about 4 years ago.. I seem to remember it being an english class or math class, and I always either forget to go, or choose not too.. but near the end I develop extreme anxiety that I am going to fail it. What does it mean?

  3. I’m 36 years old (graduated college 13 years ago) and I have this dream almost every/every other week. I either don’t know my schedule, don’t know where my class is or didn’t do my homework when I finally find my class. I wish I knew what it meant but I’m relieved I’m not the only one.

    1. I have the same dreams. Sometimes I even get lost in the halls looking for my class and when I get there it already started so I just decide to go next time. Before you know it semester is over and I’m freaking out how this will fail me. I dream every week that I forgot about a math class or kept missing a class.

      I did some research and it says it’s a sign of. Fear of failure. We are concerned about something and we are scared we might fail ourselves or others.

      It’s been a long time since I’ve been in class. I’m 51 and own a successful law firm. But I do have many employees and family that depend on me. This makes sense. I do keep myself up worried about the future and how to get my businesses to the next level or beating the competition.

      Any other insight?

  4. I have had these same recurring dreams. If we examine ourselves at a deeper level, it may become easier to understand why most people seem to recycle this common theme in their dream state. Dreams are a fundamental opportunity to explore the unconcsious state- the parts of ourselves that we would rather avoid. However; it’s impossible to avoid the Self forever. The “missing classes” dreams could symbolize the fact that we have aspects of ourselves that we have not fully brought up to the surface. Old hurts and pains or underdeveloped aspects of ourselves are not being fully released and so we avoid them in our waking and dream state. These “dark spots” may be represented by the classes, as we usually don’t even realize that we haven’t attended until it’s far too late. Maybe, if we work consciously to bring all our individual issues to the surface, we can work to release our own fears and pains and those of the collective unconcsious as well. Remember, we are all ONE.

  5. I am about to turn 50, I have an MBA, and I still have these dreams today. In the dream, i have missed numerous classes and now I am given a test I am nowhere ready for and I wake up with anxiety. Or , I have never been to class and did not withdraw and will end up failing. I would rather dream of something else frankly.

  6. I always have this dream- I’m 47 and haven’t had a class in over 25 years. It’s usually a high school semester and I have around 5 classes- a couple I have been going to, but a couple I never go to or forgot where they were. In some of the classes I take some tests and I’m never sure if I’d taken enough of the tests to get a decent grade.

  7. Same here. I’m not in school anymore and I have this recurring dream of missing this high school class for weeks. The same thing, over and over. I can’t believe I get fooled by it every time. I think it’s because I had shitty teachers in high school, so I was skipping some classes because of it. Graduated fine though. The only thing that’s comforting me is the sense of relief when I wake up.

  8. 34 , done with college for 11 years. Still occasionally dream I remember a class I had forgotten about, where it is located, too late to do anything about it. Used to make me wake up in a panic / worst anxiety. Happens much less frequently now. Would love an answer on why this haunts people and is so common.

  9. I’m 61, have multiple post grad degrees and graduated top of my class(MD, DDS) and have had this dream for years. In my case I am repeating one of these post grad degrees for no clear reason, knowing that I have already got the degree and realize that I have missed all the classes and am not prepared for the exam.

    1. Mine is very similar to yours. I am repeating classes in highschool but I’ve already obtained a college degree. I am unprepared for my classes and disorganized. Although, there is a reason I’m repeating this final semester I’m highschool. I know I dont really need to, because I already have. So strange.

  10. I’m 30. Almost every week I have a dream where I’m still a senior in high school, feeling really good about my grades and upcoming graduation. Then panic sets in because I had a math class I had forgotten about and never attended all semester.
    -side note: I hate math, it’s the reason I didn’t finish college

  11. I was told by old Catholic monk years ago this is related to our soul not being prepared for death. The purpose of life is (1) to know God. (2) to love God and not offend him by sin (3) to serve God by doing His will for us. Most people devote all their time and energy to everything other than God – spending precious time of life on frivolous, ultimately meaningless things. Missing the class all semester only to realize it when it is too late is foreshadowing of living our entire life not doing God’s will only to get to end of our life on deathbed to realize the mistake we made and that it is too late. We are not prepared and will be damned. The solution is to examine and amend your life putting God and priorities first.

    1. Sooooo but I am following God and not afraid of death at all… I’m 2 years post college and constantly have these dreams.

    2. This is a long time coming for a response, but in all due respect for your monk teacher, I am a leader in our church and am quite secure in my prepping for judgement.
      I am 63 and have the same dreams, and lately it includes having cars missing and what happened to them and my classes. Last night I realized I’m trying to find my class but I’m at my junior college rather than my university I ended at.
      I think it has to do with missing important things about life I should have learned around then, but that is a guess regarding a question I still don’t know.
      Either way, people, not a bad idea to prepare for eternity. Other than that, if I get an answer, I’ll be the first back here to let you all know!

  12. I’ve been out of high school for over 12 years and I have pretty much exactly the same recurring dream as you. Pretty funny, huh? WTF.

  13. I have had this same dream for many years over and over again. In my case it is also a math class and always in the basement of the school. Even if I don’t start the dream in the basement I am told that is where the class is at that I am missing. I am 47 and graduated long ago. I am also a Christian and am as prepared for death as my faith has taught me to be. But I had the dream again last night and came very close to “making the class” then I woke up because I was trying to sing but could not breathe. For some reason I got the feeling today that when I make that class or dream that I am finally in that math class I will dead. It doesn’t bother me but it is curious. Funny thing is the class let out and people in the hall were singing a song called “I’m going on home”. It sounded real nice in a capella and i tried to join in but couldn’t catch my breath and woke up. My nose was stopped up when I woke which is why I felt like I could not breathe.

  14. I’ve been out of college for two years and for longer than that I’ve had this recurring dream where it’s the end of the semester and I have not gone to a math class all semester long and I’m afraid I’m going to fail. I had the dream again last night and I remember in the dream thinking, “I’ve dreamt of this so many times, and now it’s actually happening in real life,” haha.

    When analyzing why I may have had this dream I realized that there was one class in college (anatomy lab) that I think I missed a lot of and ended up failing it. And I’ve been so ashamed that I failed it that I haven’t ever consciously processed it and released it. I’m not so sure if this is the reason for my dream so I wonder if any of you have had any similar experiences? Are there any classes that you may have failed and are ashamed of?

  15. Ha this so weird. I’ve been getting these on and off the last 6 months. Always seem to find myself having missed an entire years worth of lessons, leaving me clueless about the exam topics. Funny thing is it’s always dreams about college, never university… If I was going to speculate, I’d say my subconscious mind is dealing with the anxious desire I have to keep developing in my professional occupation. That, to me, would make most sense. Wonder what other people think…

  16. I have had this recurring dream, in different forms, for years as well. It’s always either high school, or college.

    The latest dream I passed people I used to know in the hallways, not speaking, but nodding in acknowledgment. I remember going to the class, having missed it all semester or year, thinking I had prepared for the test at home doing self-study, and that I’d be fine. The first question of the test is about very specific details of one of my favorite books – and I can’t remember the answer – it’s too specific. Then the rest of the test is based on an assignment that was handed out IN the class, and that I couldn’t possibly have known about unless I had been IN the classroom. So I read the instructions to do the test, and I can’t understand what I’m supposed to do. I look around in frustration, while the teacher walks around watching us all. People are handing in their tests left and right, and I just sit there not knowing what to do – feeling increasing more frustrated. Then a kid leans over and says, “Don’t you know the answers?” I tell him/her “No, what do I do!?” The response was, “Well, didn’t you do your assignment?” I say, “No.” They say, “Oh, well you had to do the assignment – it’s about the teacher’s poetry. If you didn’t do it, you can’t know the answers.” They wanted to help me out, but now I’m tearing up because I know I’m screwed. They offer to give me their work so I can complete my test, but deep down I know it’s inherently the wrong thing to do, so I decline…then, as the teacher is hovering over me, not saying a word, just watching I wake up with MAJOR anxiety.

    I read somewhere these types of dreams happen in the emotional brain, rather than the cognitive. I feel like after analyzing my dream very closely this time, that I’m not taking an active enough part/role in my own life. I’m skipping out on class, just coasting by. I’m letting life lead me, instead of taking charge and leading my life. This will require further contemplation. Being that the dream involved my favorite book and the test was on my teacher’s poetry – if the teacher represent my higher self, perhaps I need to take a more active role in being creative or musical in my life. I think about it, and it’s true. I’ve been coasting through life for years. The last time I was taking life by the horns was…when I was in school.

  17. I graduated 11 years ago, did well throughout school and rarely missed class. I don’t remember having this dream until I started a demanding job in which I regularly miss events I know I should attend. If I didn’t prioritize and set boundaries, I would work every second of every day. So I have to find other ways to gather the information. I believe this dream is, at its root, about anxiety and the knowledge, subconscious or conscious, that we’re missing something.

    1. I was in for worse dream. I failed my graduation in my high school because I was very lazy doing my homework thus I fail every single subject test and exam paper. Although I attend class almost perfectly every time but I was really absent minded in the classroom. Now 20 years later, I have recurring event where I was trying to go back to school again to correct everything I’ve wrongfully done.. in my dream. This was especially strong because I know my other classmates have done well in their school life and inside me somewhere in my mind i seem cannot accept it and will forever blame myself, in the dream. I will forever admire people with good discipline in school, know not to wasting the precious time.

  18. Just woke up from having this dream! I’ve been having it for about a year, at least once a week! It’s always Maths.
    So glad to find I’m not alone

  19. Yup, I’ve had this dream before more than a few times. For me, it’s always English class. One funny thing is that in such dreams, I can remember thinking that it’s okay to blow off the class for the remainder of the semester and take it next semester but yet I freak out because I didn’t meet the deadline to properly drop the class, so I fail it. In other recurrences of the dream, I can remember thinking “I forgot that I signed up for this class at the beginning of the semester – the same exact thing that happened to me last semester!” Usually in the dream, I can remember showing up for the first class or two, but forgetting my schedule somewhere along the way. The realization of my absent-mindedness always comes on suddenly towards the close of a semester, and it usually follows the notion that I am excelling in all of the classes that I took (except for the one that I forgot). It could be symbolic – there could be something deeper at work. It could be simplistic in its expression of some general anxiety. Who really knows? The subconscious has its own language which, to add even more complexity, is subjective in nature – it serves different purposes for different individuals. It doesn’t hurt, however, to interpret the dream on a symbolic level and take heed of that need gone unfulfilled or that “road not taken” (no English pun intended). It was great to read all of your responses.

  20. OP naied it… Word for word! Those are my dreams exactly, how did you get hold of them? Haha… its crazy, graduated 20 years ago, still wake up occasionally in a panic over this…

  21. I have this same dream! I’m now mid 30s but I have an anxiety dream that I’m back at school and I don’t have a class timetable. Everyone else has gone off to class and I am left wandering the building with no idea where I’m meant to be. Exams are on the horizon and I realise there are classes I haven’t attended all year – English and a language class which were in fact strong subjects for me. I wonder whether I have any chance of taking the exams and passing without having studied. Or whether I’ll have to repeat the year.
    If I have to guess at the significance of this, then on a literal level it could be connected to my fear of not getting good grades in subjects that I knew I ought to. Or because I did actually leave college in my final year as I got tired of academia – I did actually complete my final year the following year with renewed vigour after some time out.
    On a symbolic level, though, I feel it’s maybe connected to me feeling that there are things I am missing out on in life and that I am lost in life and can’t catch up with everyone, that I am being left behind.

  22. Wow Found this page because I just had this dream.. Again. I’m 30 now, but this dream takes me back to high school where I cannot find my classes, have not attended classes, have no idea what my schedule is and even when I manage to get one, I cannot figure it out. It’s always late in the year too. There are a lot of comments on this page but I can’t find a suitable interpretation… Weird that we would dream the same thing

  23. 45 year old and still have this dream occasionally. Seems to come in waves; repeats to several weeks then nothing for months. So glad I’m not alone but what can it mean??

  24. I have exactly this dream all the time. I believe my mind remembers the anxiety at college and uni and school (probably the first time it really registered what stress and anxiety was)… so when I get a bit anxious or have things on in life now.. my brain automatically goes back to thinking that these things are going on again.. so I dream it.
    I believe its maths or languages that I dream about because it isn’t a subject (for me) that uses common sense.. so its more stressful and impossible to make sure I pass the exam from the class I haven’t been too!
    That’s just what I believe is going on in my messed up little head. What amazes me is that all our dreams are almost exactly the same!! which is why I think its related to the first type of anxiety/ stress a lot of us experience in life.
    Its a horrible dream either way…. glad im not back at school!

  25. I just had this dream last night… It’s been at least 10 years since University. I’ve talked with folks who’ve had it into their 60s.

    From what I can tell, everyone has it, and it’s almost a sign of PTSD from the stressors in University or School.

  26. I am 51 and have had this dream regularly at times in my life, and then not at all other times. The dream varies slightly. One version is that I realize at the time of finals that after the first class I forgot about it and never went, and therefore never studied at all. The other version is the same, but it’s at the time of the first exam, and I am way behind and don’t have the book, or know what will be on the test, because I never went to the class after the first one. Both are are because I forgot about the class, not intentional, and always about math. I am always in a panic in the dream. I graduated with honors from undergraduate school and went on to get an MBA with straight As after. I have always been the type to put a lot of pressure on myself for success. I think for me this dream comes at times of change, particularly professional change, where my confidence may be low and I am worried about what the future will look like as a result of the change.

  27. Oh My…..Found this page because I just woke up from having this same dream. I Google it because I keep having this dream and want to see what the meaning was.

  28. I finished University about two years ago and have these dreams frequently. They are also compounded by two things that actually happened at University. First, I did actually get an attendance warning for not showing up to one of my classes so often. So when I have these dreams, it often involves the fear of not only failing that course, but also a fear that I would have gotten an attendance warning and not even realised and therefore could get kicked out of University entirely.

    The second component is that I actually got accused of plagiarism on the final essay I submitted and didn’t even realise until months later. As soon as I submitted by final essays I went back home and thought I was done and had graduated with the degree I wanted. About a month later I logged onto the University Portal to get my results and saw that I had been accused of plagiarism and hat to attend a hearing to explain myself. Of course, realising this so late, I had missed the hearing and in my absence it had been decided that module would be capped at zero, meaning I would get a 2:2 instead of a 2:1. The thought of this was absolutely shattering for some time.

    I did get it sorted however as it was not plagiarism at all. The student union rep said he would not represent me as the case was a lost cause since I missed the hearing. So I decided to represent myself. Eventually, after several committee hearings with the chancellors and vice chancellors, they scrapped the case, decided it wasn’t really plagiarism, got rid of the academic integrity officer who said it was and I finished University with my 2:1.

    The stress I experienced from this situation however is present every time I have one of these dreams about University.

  29. My eyes are watering right now because that’s what happens to me when I get scared…….I have had this SAME exact dream TO A TEE! Every single detail is the same. It happens about once per month. Does anyone know what this means?

    I graduated high school in 2009, and I’ve been an RN for 3 years, definitely not in school anymore! I’m extremely creeped out that so many people are having this same exact dream.

  30. I’m 39 and still this dream about college. I think I know why I have it. It’s usually triggered when I’m stressed with too much work.

    My dream: I’m usually panicked about either not studying for Spanish finals or missing the entire semester of Spanish classes (which I never even had in college! ). I actually got good grades in high school Spanish but was always saving the studying to the last minute in order to focus on my advanced science classes, so I decided to stop taking Spanish after my high school junior year. While taking Spanish, I often forgot to study for my Spanish exams until the night before since I was so focused on other classes, hence the nightmares about Spanish. Spanish classes were sometimes just twice a week, so when you don’t use it you loose it, so that might also contribute to the nightmares, since classes and exams were on an irregular schedule.

    I just had a new one nightmare about going to the wrong history classes, and that I’m falling behind. In real life, I am swamped with work right now, and I’ve been reading more history as of late, so that could why my subconscious changed the script around. I’m not sure why the mind does this. It must be some kind of coping mechanism.

  31. I am 41 and have been having this same dream for the last ten years. What does it mean? Maybe those who have this dream have been marked for something great by a higher power? It’s clear that that some of us have his dream and others don’t. Why?

  32. I have this dream about once a week. I always wake up and have to calm down for a few minutes until I realize that I have been graduated from college for 6 years.

    Sometimes I forget to go to a class for a whole semester. Lately, it’s been that I have graduated college, but I failed a high school class and I am forced to go complete my senior year of high school again, even though I have graduated college.

    My every day life is stressful as I am in a sales position. I feel overwhelmed that there are not enough hours in the day sometimes. I am trying to correlate the dream with my stressors in life.

  33. I have dream about my school life and I have struggling over here that school I left over a decade what does it mean? Any one among you who interpret ? I have done well in my earlier education in school when ever I saw a dream, I’m struggling over here .

  34. I have this dream also, it goes back to the same scenario in hs. Taking a Math Class with no chance of passing it so I take it again and again with the same results. The bottom line is to be Happy with who God is forging you to be , and don’t try to live your life to what you think others are thinking of you, because they aren’t thinking what we think they are thinking if that makes sense. So move on with your life, and the next time you have that dream get the h- e – double hockey sticks out of there✝

  35. It all has to do with your subconscious and the various ways that it’s tied symbols to things like graduating, classes, etc., along with memories from the stress actually caused by classes, etc., PSTD type stuff…

    I have a few recurrent dreams related to college, and I graduated college in 1999!

    One dream involves a real world situation in college… it’s a bit bizzare. In my speech class in real life, I was nearly late to the written part of the final, and a student teacher was doing the actual final… When I crossed the quad the actual teacher for the final was walking the other way, away from the building where the final was in when I was walking towards it! That one has lead me to a life time of stress related dreams about not being able to meet expectations, etc.

    Sort of similar, I didn’t do the whole 4 year thing… I did 6 hard years in college since I thought about switching majors, and did pick up a minor… I finally graduated with a major in studio art, and a minor in theater, but thought about going in to English, Computer Science, and a few majors over my years there… Quite often these days I have a recurrent dream about not having enough credits to actually graduate, and having to go to the professor/counselor to discuss more options on which classes to take next semester… Similarly have dreams about actually coming back to college at my age, being in a painting class, and stressing out about trying to figure out which classes I’m signed up for since I don’t have the roster written out in my wallet as I did in real life back then… I typically wrote out which classes on which days and which times I had them on small slips of paper in my wallet, did same for times to be at ‘work’ there since I did work study with the library there… also have dreams related to that work study job from time to time in various situations… College never leaves you… It is a part of your conscious and subconscious FOREVER!

  36. Holy cow – I am 15 years out of school and I still regularly have dreams where I am at school/on campus and need to go take a final for a class that I haven’t gone to all semester. Other times, I will need to get to a class that I haven’t been to all semester and I freak out because I don’t know where on campus the classroom is. Sometimes it is so frustrating/panic inducing that I wake up and it takes me about 10 seconds to remember that I graduated 15 years ago and have been working (and never going back to school) ever since. They don’t really bother me – I find these dreams quite amusing; however, I have no idea what triggers such a dream to recur.

  37. I was in for worse dream. I failed my graduation in my high school because I was very lazy doing my homework thus I fail every single subject test and exam paper. Although I attend class almost perfectly every time but I was really absent minded in the classroom. Now 20 years later, I have recurring event where I was trying to go back to school again to correct everything I’ve wrongfully done.. in my dream. This was especially strong because I know my other classmates have done well in their school life and inside me somewhere in my mind i seem cannot accept it and will forever blame myself, in the dream. I will forever admire people with good discipline in school, know not to wasting the precious time.

  38. I am 43 and have had these dreams for 20 years. It’s always the same; I go to the first class and then don’t go back until a big paper is due that I didn’t do. I feel so panicked when I wake up.

  39. I had this dream last night, as well as many more. I graduated 4 years ago, and I dreamt I had missed many maths classes, of my history degree?? Also I regularly dream I am staying in the halls of residence again and sometimes move into a different room. I am suffering anxiety in my life currently, so maybe this is being expressed in these dreams

  40. I have this dream too, sometimes it takes other forms that seem to be related:
    – I suddenly realise I am in school and have not been attending any classes for months, panic hits as I join a school with unfamiliar people, unfamiliar classes etc.
    – We have a free public transport pass from the government during out study years, and sometimes I dream about being on a train and the people who check the tickets come in, and only then I realise I am not a student and I did not buy a ticket for the train.

    It is like my unconcious mind never let go of the idea that I am what I was for the first 20ish years of my live: a student, or at least someone learning things. After that live hits you and it changes so much; living on your own, making a living etc.
    It screams in my dreams “Aren’t you supposed to be learning more stuff???”.

  41. I just had the exact same dream, AGAIN! I can’t believe so many people have had the same or similar dreams. I feel like it has everything to do with “Life School” and not showing up the way that I need to. I am not as active in learning my lessons as I should be. There’s a lot to learn and experience and I am not living up to my full potential.

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