School dreams are among the few most common dreams almost everyone on the planet has on a regular basis. More crucially, they are also incredibly symbolic dreams that carry lots of meaning and insight, applicable to your waking life if you’re willing to look deep into them. Not that you’ll always need to look very deep either, as school dreams are also quite easy to decipher most of the time.
So, what does a dream about school mean aside from usually being quite uncomfortable to sleep through? Here are 10 possible explanations to consider the next time you find yourself scratching your head in the morning.
The meaning of a dream about school
In dreams as in real life, elementary, middle, and high school can be incredibly awkward at some times and quite joyous at others. Still, dreams about school do have a tendancy to be more on the frustrating side. This is important to note, as are all other details you can recall about your dream, as they can help you pinpoint which of the following 10 explanations applies to you.
1. You likely have unresolved childhood issues
We say “likely” but the appropriate word is “certainly” as everyone has unresolved childhood issues of some kind or another – whether we realize it or not. So, a recurring dream about school is almost always your subconscious mind pointing out some childhood conflicts and unresolved issues to you in an attempt to get you to face them.
The trigger for such a dream can be lots of things – an upcoming school reunion, you driving by your old school, remembering that you actually abandoned school halfway through, or, very often, you’re just experiencing the drawbacks of your lingering childhood trauma and you’re not even realizing it, hence the dream pointing you in that direction.
2. You’re drawing on your childhood for inspiration
A more positive interpretation can be applied when your dream had a very noticeable positive feeling to it. Not all of us are lucky enough to have had an overall positive experience at school but many of those that did will sometimes have dreams of playing on the school playground, hitting some major achievements, kissing their first boyfriend or girlfriend, and other positive things.
A dream like that usually leaves us full of joy and smiles, as well as inspiration for the coming day. Needless to say, figuring out its meaning is hardly an issue.
3. There are some life lessons you’ve learned – or should have learned – as a child that you need to heed right now
School is a time of learning more than just math and chemistry – it’s also a time of learning from everyone and everything we see on a daily basis as children can’t help but learn and soak up information about the world around them.
Very often we learn the wrong lessons, however, or we quickly forget the right ones as we get older. So, another school dream meaning often is your subconscious mind telling you to relearn something you’ve missed in your childhood. Effectively, this dream is your subconscious trying to steer you back in the right direction and on schedule.
4. You may be feeling inadequate or incapable in certain areas of your life
A lot of us associate our time in school with final exams, pressure, fear of failure, and other such stressful situations. This makes a dream about school a perfect metaphor for one’s feelings of inadequacy in adult life, anxieties about not being capable to do something properly, and so on.
So, dreams of this sort are very common for people with low self-esteem and for those who feel in over their heads with a particular endeavor. Have you just been given a huge new project at work you have no idea how you’d deal with? A dream about a math test is likely waiting for you tonight.
5. You’ve been feeling judged and tested
No one likes being under scrutiny but some of us deal with that pressure even worse than others. It’s perfectly natural to feel panic when you’re sensing the judgment of people around you and it’s just as normal to have unpleasant dreams about that too.
Such anxieties about someone else’s judgment can come from all sources – it could be that you’ve been having marital problems or that you’ve just got a long-awaited promotion that comes with lots of extra responsibilities.
Or, it could be that you’ve just been featured in the local papers about something – whatever the case, a dream like that indicates your wish for some extra wisdom to help you deal with all the scrutiny you feel under.
6. You’re feeling anxious and unprepared
It’s also perfectly normal to associate school with getting ready for the next phase of your life – which, technically, is exactly what school is all about. This, however, also makes a dream about school a very likely metaphor your subconscious mind would use in situations you’ve been feeling unprepared for.
Anxieties of this sort are to be expected from time to time even if they are often not justified. Indeed, this type of dream is especially common for people with low self-esteem rather than for people who walk through life unprepared for most of it and blissfully ignorant about it.
7. You have some internal issues you need to share with people close to you
Another common association most of us have with school is the feeling of being unable to talk about what we feel inside. This really is more an issue of puberty and overly restrictive households, of course, but it’s normal to instead associate it with school as we tend to associate everything from our teen years with school.
Additionally, school itself can also often feel quite restrictive. All it takes is one overly strict teacher that yelled at you every time you tried to whisper something or kick you out of tests for your subconscious to imprint the image of that teacher in your mind for the rest of your life.
So, a dream about such a situation from your life in school or – most creepily, a dream of an empty school – is typically a telltale sign that you’re having trouble talking with people around you and sharing with them what’s weighing on your mind.
8. You’ve been feeling stuck in life
Even though school is supposed to be about development and progress, a lot of us associate it with stagnation, regression, and conservatism. Stuff such as school uniforms, the repeated nature of school schedules, the endless school hallways with their unremarkable repeating doors, and other frustrating aspects of it all can make school a great metaphor for feeling stuck in life.
This means that if you’ve been doing the same thing over and over for years to no end, if you don’t see a way out, and if you desperately wish your life to be different, you can very much expect your mind to start sending you dreams of being back in school more and more often.
9. You’re dreaming of happier times
Another likely explanation is that you’ve been so unhappy in your adult life that your mind has decided to give you some time off with a trip back to your school days. This type of dream is understandably exclusive to people who actually enjoyed their school days.
It’s also more likely to dream about your elementary school as that’s a period more people have positive memories about – running and laughing through the hallway, being with old friends, stuff like that can feel like being in your comfort zone for most people’s subconscious minds.
10. You wish you’d taken a different path
Often, such dreams are full of regret over the dreamer’s current situation in life. In those cases, we dream of our school for the same reason we dream of our first childhood boyfriend or girlfriend – because we’re subconsciously wondering “What if?”
There’s nothing wrong with wanting new things in life, of course, and a regretful dream of this sort often indicates that it’s time to change some things. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should just up and leave everything, of course. In fact, it may mean the opposite – that what you need to change is that feeling of regret. Either way, something obviously has to give.
Having a dream of school always holds meaning about your current life. More often than not, the correct dream interpretation is the one that points toward some unresolved issues from your childhood or current anxiety that your subconscious mind relates to past ones.
Whatever the case, this is always a dream you should listen to as it can point you to quite a lot of crucial insight you likely need right now. Fortunately, it’s also not the hardest dream to figure out which makes it even more of a shame if you opt to ignore it.