I have this dream all the time

I’m sure the fun fact is true as well.


  1. You better double check. It might not be a dream….

  2. James F

    Me too. And it’s just as unsettling every time.

  3. OK, that’s just spooky. Get out of my head!

  4. charfles

    This is by far my most common nightmare.

  5. I know I’m extremely anxious about something depending on how far back I go in school. If it’s just grad school that means it’s pretty mild. If I go back to high school I know I’m really nervous.

  6. Micah S.

    I hate that damn dream. I have it all the time about high school for some reason.

  7. Denice Walter

    Even worse when you read about it when studying history of psychology (Freud’s book about dreams)and of course, everyone talks about it a lot; then,you *still* keep having the dream.

  8. dogbert

    I graduated 30 years ago and still have that dream.

  9. Mal Adapted

    12 years after my last for-credit class, I still have that nightmare all the time.

  10. I’m usually behind on a project AND naked.

  11. I actually stopped having that dream at some point. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t had that dream for years and years until I read the XKCD.

    I think it’s because the actual grind of graduate school made any anxiety dreams inadequate and/or redundant.

    But last week I finished my dissertation and I defend in mid-April, so I’m distinctly less anxious.

    I wonder if the dream will come back?..

  12. Most typical for me is that I’m taking a course that is WAY out of my comfort zone, some area I know little or nothing about, so there is no way for me to even try to bullshit my way through any exams or assignments.

    I also have a related dream frequently: I realize I’ve been assigned to teach a class but have been forgetting to show up for it. Yet somehow no one has contacted me to find out where I’ve been or why I’ve not been showing up.

    Anxiety: it’s not just for reality any more.

  13. I had this dream when I was a student. Now that I’m faculty, it’s a bit different. I have to give a lecture, and I’ve forgotten to prepare for it.

    But I seem to have that dream less since the time it actually happened.

  14. I had that dream for many years after college. It finally went away after several months of being retired.

  15. I’ve been out of high school for 20 years and I have a dream where it’s been discovered that I didn’t fulfill some requirement and have to go back and do it all over again.

    Strangely, I haven’t had that dream since I started college last semester.

  16. Yes, I’ve had the high school dream, but when I actually go to class it’s so easy I’m wondering why I have to make up the credits. But how about the dream of being naked in public places – this started for me in first grade related to school and has plagued me all my life. What is the Freudian significance of this dream?

  17. Hm. I’ve never had this dream, either for high school or college.

  18. Interrobang

    I’ve been out of school formally for 10 years now and I’m still having that dream. Usually with me, I dream that they’ve somehow revoked my degrees, and in order to get them back, I have to go back to high school and pass this impossible slate of courses. Then of course I can’t find my classes (or my class schedule) and various other nail-biters.

  19. OMG that comic strip writer has been peeking in on my nightmares! For me it’s usually high school, where in the real world I graduated 19 years ago! I don’t know why it’s not college or grad school in my dream… I actually sailed through HS pretty easy.

  20. idlemind

    Yeah. Completely unprepared (and I, uh, seem to have forgotten my pants).

    For 30 years.

  21. Pieter B

    I didn’t start having that dream until I was in my forties.

  22. I too had this dream about college.
    Each panel of the cartoon was correct.
    I had a sudden test I didn’t know about.
    Then thinking I must have been skipping the class all year long.
    Then worrying about failing but also remembering I had aquired all my credits.
    Then I remember I freaking graduated. The dream ends. I wake up to some degree or more on to the next dream.

    So what does it mean?
    Worth looking up on some of those supposedly ‘crank’ dream analysis websites?

  23. Awesome! I have this dream about once every 3 months – version 1 is where I haven’t attended any Chemistry lessons in my final year of high school and the exam is approaching, version 2 is where I’m repeating my final year (I didn’t) but haven’t studied anything!

  24. Evinfuilt

    For me its always a math class, I can’t explain why, but always I’m dreaming I’m back in some math class, then realize I don’t need any more math classes, hold on, I finished college, why am I here, oh yeah, I’m not, arghhhh. Oh, and sometimes I’m naked too 😉

  25. Zetetic

    Same here – this is a recurrent nightmare for me. I have two BS & three graduate degrees… There’s plenty of real experiences for my unconscious brain to draw on! I was an Army medic too, I don’t even want to get into the dreams I have about that!

  26. A variation on the theme:
    I was playing in a band for a few years after college when I started having the only recurring dream I’ve ever had. I was all dressed up back stage right before going on to play…with Earth, Wind, and Fire. And I didn’t know any of the songs.

  27. Sheesh me too. Even down to the “Hey I remember graduating” part.

    Still freaks me out every time.

  28. BrianD

    I didn’t have the dreams, but for many years after graduating from Caltech, I would wake up in the morning with the subconscious knowledge that I had not studied in WEEKS, and start to panic. Then I’d think “Oh wait, I don’t have to study any more”, and feel immense relief.

  29. If you hover your mouse over the comic it will give you an additional comment. I love xkcd.

  30. John M 307

    My versions of the dream usually involve some mixture of two of the three of elementary school, high school, and graduate school. I’ve also noticed upon waking up, that reality (and history) shifts during the dreams to lead to the embarrassing conclusion.

    Once, I noticed a reality shift right in the middle of the dream. In the dream, I was prepared for the exam, so dream reality shifted to make me unprepared.

    Many years ago at Caltech, I dreamed about being back in high school, in the world of 1984 (Orwell’s novel), set in a swamp of poisonous snakes.

  31. Gasp! Me too! Though it did happen to me in real life (sort of). I got a call during the holiday break to sit in a supplementary exam because I didn’t pass the standard exam and I sure wasn’t prepared and failed it too and had repeat that the subject. 8(

  32. Anonymous

    what ever

  33. I can’t believe how many people are having this dream! School must be really traumatic! And I wonder why it’s high school with most people? My dreams usually involve the dean telling me I didn’t quite technically graduate and now, years later, I have to go back for just one more semester. And then I can’t find my classes or figure out which period it is or where my locker is etc. God I hated high school!

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