What Does it Mean to Dream About Your Old School?

Have you ever dreamed that you were back in the school you went to as a child? Did you see yourself back there with those really special childhood friends? Interestingly, there may be more than one explanation for dreaming about going back to school.
What Does it Mean to Dream About Your Old School?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 24 April, 2023

Having a dream that’s linked to your childhood can sometimes be comforting. At other times, it may be disturbing. From a psychological point of view, we know that the function of dreams is almost always to allow us to process certain emotions. Thus, there could be various explanations for dreaming about your old school.

The most common reason is a feeling of nostalgia and a longing to return to that stage when everything seemed possible and you were more hopeful. On the other hand, maybe you experienced trauma in your school years. These kinds of experiences might remain unsolved. Your unconscious will give you clues to any psychological realities that you might need to deal with.

“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul…”

-Carl Jung-

Man Napping Representing Dreaming About My Childhood School
Dreaming of childhood can make us evoke happy moments from those days. But, they can also complicate matters.

Why do you dream about your old school?

Dreams are mental narratives that sometimes make sense and other times border on surrealism. Many of us dream about our old schools. We might see ourselves in our dreams reliving experiences from our past. For example, friendships, first love, intrigues, disappointments, and unforgettable adventures.

A study conducted by the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience of the University of Turku (Finland) claimed that the form and content of dreams aren’t random. In most cases, they’re linked to elements of waking life. Here, we’re going to explore the kinds of dreams you might have about your old school and the possible reasons behind them.

You might also like to read Seven Types of Dreams

1. You miss this stage of your life

In moments of stress, your unconscious can take you back to happier moments from yesterday. If your school years were enriching and meaningful, it may be a way of connecting with your past and bringing you feelings of calm and optimism. It’s like looking in the rear-view mirror of your own existence. It makes you realize that life consists of stages and some of them are better than others.

If you dreamed about your old school and the dream was rewarding, stay with that feeling. It can give you encouragement and reinforcement in the present.

2. Unresolved issues

Childhood is the most decisive phase in human development. Therefore, your early experiences established a good part of who you are now. Moreover, your school played a key role. So, if you were bullied, it’s likely that this wound is still with you.

Research conducted by the University of Warwick (UK) claims that bullying has long-term effects and it’s common for victims to reach adulthood still suffering its scars. Without a doubt, bullying is a traumatic event that also manifests itself in dreams and nightmares.

As a matter of fact, any complex or unpleasant episode experienced in those years can arise at any time in your universe of dreams. They represent something you need to address.

Dream images are frequently related to everyday emotional experiences. Often, they represent matters that require attention.

3. Friendships that you’d like to recover

Dreaming about your old school can hide a desire to reconnect with specific figures with whom you were happy. After all, we all remember certain childhood friendships that were decisive in discovering the world and ourselves. For example, maybe you have wonderful memories of your magical first love.

Fortunately, today, in our social media-dominated present, it’s easier than ever to find old classmates. Why not give it a try?

4. Abandoned plans that you’d like to restart

When you were little, your mind was nourished with plans and images of what you’d be like in the future. However, as you grew up, maybe you encountered one disappointment after another and discovered that you couldn’t achieve everything you yearned for as a child.

Therefore, when you dream about your old school, it might be because you want to resume certain plans that you abandoned at the time. Those that, due to your indecision, you didn’t even start. Perhaps you dropped out of school or began training due to pressure from your family. But, in reality, you didn’t want to. Remember, it’s never too late to be who you once wanted. Make sure you take that first step.

5. You don’t feel prepared for certain things

One frequent phenomenon you might experience is dreaming of your old school and suddenly seeing yourself in the middle of an exam. You’re sitting at your desk and have an exam in math, English, or science subject for which you haven’t studied. Unsurprisingly, your stress and anguish are immense. But, why does your brain play these tricks on you?

In fact, these types of dreams tend to suggest that you’re not working hard enough on your goals. You’re returning to your childhood as a starting point and an exercise in reflection. So, perhaps you need to recover your hopes of yesteryear and try harder to fulfill your wishes and plans.

Child climbs stairs while dreaming of his childhood school
Dreaming of going back to school invites you to reflect on where you are in your life.

What to do after dreaming about your old school

Dreams linked to childhood often have a special significance. They’re frequently accompanied by a high emotional charge, either of positive valence or, on the contrary, something less friendly. It’s worth noting that they’re widespread phenomena and it’s always advisable to analyze them and ask yourself what message they’re trying to convey to you. In these situations, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Write your dream down in a journal. Try to describe all the details and the emotions you experienced.
  2. Look for elements that, in your opinion relate to the present moment.
  3. Ask yourself what the dream could be telling you.
  4. Write down all the ideas that come to your mind about your interpretations.
  5. Evaluate and reflect on whether the dream is inviting you to make any changes.

To conclude, Sigmund Freud called dream interpretation the “royal road” to the unconscious. It certainly never hurts to delve into that world and mediate a little more in your well-being and knowledge.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.