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Nov. 19, 2014

Not-so-sweet dreams

Nov. 19, 2014

In the past week or so, I’ve shown up at my boss’s fancy party in pajamas, been pushed down the stairs by a co-worker, had another co-worker put a huge snowball in the passenger seat of my car, had the words I was typing keep disappearing from my computer and captured a serial killer using a dull knife and my flip phone from 2005. Well, those things didn’t actually happen—only in the bizarre dreams I’ve been having. I don’t always remember my dreams, but I’ve certainly been on a run lately.

What’s that? Um, I guess you could say I’ve been a little stressed at work lately—what makes you ask? Yeah, yeah, I see it. It doesn’t take a genius to analyze those dreams. Being unprepared, having obstacles put in my way, disappearing work, slaying a monster—I should probably take some vacation time soon.

At least I haven’t had my most common recurring dream lately. You know the one, where you have a final exam and realize you forgot to go to class all semester? For me, it’s always math. Always. Sometimes college and sometimes high school but it’s always some difficult math course. I remember having the dream once while I was in college and it seemed so real I spent an hour in the middle of the night searching for my fee receipt to make sure I didn’t actually sign up for math and had forgotten.

Or what about those uncomfortable romantic dreams involving someone you have absolutely no interest in? Ever wake up feeling embarrassed, guilty or just plain creeped out? I remember a friend (no really, that’s not code for me) who had a dream like that about Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom during the Red Wings playoffs. I remember her saying, “Mitch Albom? Really? It couldn’t be Steve Yzerman?” She flushed red just telling me about it.

What the heck are our brains doing while we sleep? Where do they come up with all these crazy ideas? How can our brains store all that information from an entire lifetime? It fascinates me to think about all our brains do.

Alan Beretta, a professor of linguistics and director of the MSU EEG lab, also is fascinated with how our brains function, specifically the relation between language and the brain. He can often be found in the EEG Lab with a volunteer subject in a bright blue electroencephalogram cap that is designed to show when things are happening in the brain. Watch the video and read more about his work in the FACULTY VOICE: Leading Brain and Language Connectivity.

Haobing Zhu is a doctoral student who studies a different kind of language—the language of music. She is studying piano performance in the College of Music and teaches at the MSU Community Music School. Her dream is to connect with audiences in a way that brings about greater cultural understanding. Watch the video in the STUDENT VIEW: Bridging the Cultural Divide, to learn more about her work.

Speaking of music, I woke up this morning with “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac stuck in my head. I honestly can’t remember the last time I actually heard that song so why did I wake up singing it this morning?

I have no idea what thoughts will seep out into my dreams tonight. Maybe I’ll be like professor Beretta and make scientific discoveries. Maybe I’ll be like Haobing and use music to change perceptions. The thing is, when you’re a Spartan, no dream is too big or too crazy.

Spartans Will.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday


Photo of the Red Cedar River at night by Derrick L. Turner


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