Recurring Nightmare

I have been having this one recurring nightmare for years. There are different variations, but the basic theme is the same.

Theme – I have not managed to graduate from college, because I haven’t passed anywhere between 6-14 exams after my last semester. Now, I am at a stage that I have to clear all my remaining subjects in the next exams, or I have to do my graduation all over again. Also, I lose my job if I don’t produce a valid degree.

Variations – In some of these nightmares, I am determined to study hard and pass this time around, but when I open my books, all the pages are blank, so I cannot study. In some variations, I do manage to study, but end up sleeping through the exam day, waking up in panic in the evening. In some cases, I am not even aware of the exams till the last moment and I end up rushing to the exam centre with no preparations.

In real life, I did manage to graduate almost 14 years ago, but by the skin of my teeth. I passed some subjects (EMF) by some fluke (I studied only a few topics and those are the ones which appeared on the exam) or after multiple attempts (Mathematics-1 took 5 attempts).

However, when I I truly lucked out was during the 8th semester exams. I had appeared for both 7th (failed subjects) and 8th semester exams during my last attempt and had only attempted the bare minimum questions in some of them. I was more surprised than relieved when the results were announced and I realised I had passed in all of these exams and graduated successfully. Later, when the mark sheets were released, I realised it was another fluke.

Nightmare
Fluke!

You see, I had actually failed in Subject 5 above, but, our university had a provision of grace marks. However, the rules were very specific and I had never received grace marks ever, before this. Some rules

  • You would get up to a total of 10 grace marks per semester only.
  • You would only get grace marks if it enables you to pass in all subjects in that semester
  • You would get grace marks only in certain specific denominations
    • Exactly 10 marks in one subject (I would get grace marks only if I score exactly 30 in that subject. 31 would also not do)
    • Exactly 5 marks each in 2 subjects (Need to score exactly 35 in 2 subjects)
    • Exactly 2 marks in 1 subject (which is what I got)

Even though I failed in Subject 5, I was awarded 2 grace marks and I passed that subject and graduated. If I had 1 mark more or less in that subject, I wouldn’t have graduated when I did. Maybe the fact that I graduated because of such a fluke is what triggers these nightmares. Strangely, when I wake up and realise it was all a nightmare, it still doesn’t make me feel better. What a nightmare!

The kicker? The subject that I couldn’t even get passing marks in was related to Computer Networking and I am now a network engineer.

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