Remember that one dream where you flew through campus or showed up naked to a party? Some of us can remember our dreams for years while others claim they never dream. Some may even have reoccurring nightmares or dreams that’ll make you laugh. We all have different life experiences but somehow manage to have dreams that are very similar. In fact, you’ll find often common themes and symbols within our dreams that mean more than public nudity or cool superpowers like breathing underwater.
Decode your strangest dreams with this handy dream interpretation guide.
1. The “I’m Naked in Public “Dream
“I had a dream about being naked in class, it felt was so real. I was just sitting down naked and I couldn’t believe it. Thank God it was a dream,” said American University senior Mare Acosta. According to Dream Moods, this dream symbolizes a fear of being exposed or misjudged. Or, if you’re naked and try to cover up, this means you’re trying to hide your vulnerability. Maybe in your waking life you have a crush on a new guy in your physics class but don’t want him to know how you failed the last two tests. Waking up from the naked dreams are always a relief, but maybe they want you to confront some deep rooted feelings.
2. The “I’m Unprepared for an Exam” Dream
You finally sit down to take a dreaded exam when you realize none of the questions are what you studied. Not knowing information on an exam can mean many things in dream world. Maybe you’re just overly anxious for an upcoming exam. Taking an exam in a dream also implies one’s insecurities, fear of “not meeting others’ expectations” and the “fear of failure,” as noted on Dream Moods. This makes sense for a college students to stress about failure. Good news though: If you have a dream about failing your next calc exam, most likely you’ll study extra hard and won’t fail in real life.
3. The “I’m Falling” Dream
No matter how good a movie is, do you ever find yourself dozing off? And seconds later you fall off a cliff, making your stomach drop as you plummet— but right before you painfully land, you’re awake. “A few times a week I’ll be falling asleep and dream that I’m falling and immediately I wake up. It’s really jarring and my heart is usually racing when I wake up and I’m all disoriented,” said AU junior Kyra McNaughton. Falling and feeling scared indicates a lack of control or security in your waking life, according to Dream Moods. You may be going through an overwhelming period or ongoing struggle. Sound familiar? Whether it’s finals week or roommate struggles, we often feel like our lives are out of control.
4. The “I’m Late or Missing Out” Dream
“I almost have dreams about this everyday. I mean it’s part of my anxiety, I always think about being late but I just can’t really remember what goes on in my stress dreams,” said AU junior Sofia Passick. We’ve all woken up from a dream where we’re running late to something, but when we arrive, the event is winding down or has ended. According to Dream Moods, dreaming that you are late means that you feel unready or unsupported about certain circumstances. If you’re a rising senior or close to graduation, you may experience a stress dream about being late.
5. The “I’m Being Chased” Dream
If being chased in real life wasn’t scary enough, try it in a dream, but not being able to move fast enough to get away. “I had a dream that I was being chased by a murderer and I ran into a house. All of a sudden the swat team came inside and grabbed me. It all felt too real and I woke up in a panic,” said AU junior Yaniza Creamer. Dream Moods tells us that when you dream about being chased you’re avoiding a situation that you don’t think you can conquer. Perhaps you haven’t been able to find time to tell your boyfriend it’s over, and now it’s taking over your dream world. It’s always a good idea to face your fears in life, but also to avoid those scary chase dreams.
6. The “I Can’t Find a Toilet” Dream
You’re wandering hallway upon hallway hoping to find a toilet in panic that you may pee your pants. However, you soon wake up confused as to why you had such an odd dream about toilet separation anxiety. This dream may seem childish at first, but its deeper meaning reveals that bathrooms symbolize more than having to pee. Not being able to find a bathroom in your dream indicates that you have difficulties expressing emotion and tend to hold back true feelings, according to Dream Moods. Who would have known a dream about a toilet could tell you about some character faults?
7. The “I’m Flying” Dream
Most of us have been on airplanes so we know how it feels to fly, but in dream world we sometimes have the power to soar through the sky like a bird. This makes you wish you were back in dream land instead of stuck in your dorm as soon as you wake up. According to Dream Moods, a dream about flying symbolizes “a sense of freedom” where you once felt restricted. So not only does the dream feel awesome but most likely in your waking life great things are happening, too. Maybe you finally quit an annoying job or confronted your roommate about stealing your clothes. Either way, you feel like flying here and in dream world.
8. The Celebrity Dream
Maybe one night after back to back re-runs of Friends, you doze off and find yourself bike riding bike with Jennifer Aniston. “I’ve had recurring dreams that I’ve been dating and then engaged to Lebron James. At first people were shocked because I’m young, but my family supported it completely. Then in the dream I was asked to be on that WAGS show,” said AU junior Nina Conover. According to Dream Moods, seeing these celebrities in your dreams represents our need for pleasure or that celebrity’s traits. If Kim Kardashian shows up and you’re take selfies with her all night long, this may symbolize your want to associate with her or model her career. Either way, running into celebrities in our sleep gives us a break from our mundane college life.
9. The “I’m lost” Dream
With the Internet at our fingertips, most of us rely on our phones to get everywhere, even in our dreams. Ever have that dream where you’re lost on campus or in the middle of the woods, where even your precious iPhone can’t save you? According to Dream Moods, being lost indicates that you can’t find your direction in life or feel insecure about the path you’ve taken. Perhaps you just switched majors or decided to transfer universities. At least in real life these feelings of uncertainty and fear won’t mean you can’t rely on Google Maps.
10. The “I’m Underwater” Dream
Ever have a dream of having cool powers like surviving underwater for days? Or a scarier version where you’re underwater and can’t breathe? Hopefully your underwater dreams involve lovely mermaids and dolphins. If not, Dream Moods has the answer: A dream where you are underwater suggests that you’re “overcome with emotions and are in over your head.” Essentially, the dream is telling you to take control of your life. On the other hand, if you have a dream where you breathe underwater, it represents being back in the womb, wanting to retreat back to young ways, feeling helpless or being overcome with emotion. Who doesn’t feel like that occasionally?