I was presenting my thesis in Galileo-MacAlister auditorium, the biggest lecture hall on the Harvey Mudd College campus. It was surprisingly crowded. Professor Bernoff was my introduction, stalling for time as I got my slides and other materials ready. I was late to the talk because my clothes were mismatched, and I'd had to run home (not my dorm room) and change. Something like that.
As part of my preparation, I put a pot of noodles to boil on the overhead projector, and this wasn't weird. Right before I got up to present an Asian woman came into the lecture hall with a small crying child. We managed to soothe the toddler so it wouldn't disrupt the talk further, and we all breathed a big sigh of relief.
I was amazed at how fluently my dream-self spoke of my thesis research after nearly two years, and also a little bemused that this was such a surprise to me. After all, I did immerse myself in the topic for a year, to the point where I could discuss it in Dutch as well as English, as long as I stayed away from the technical terminology.
My academic advisor, Professor Ward, was in the audience. Although I don't think the talk was for a grade, I nonetheless addressed a lot of my discussion and explanation to her anyway.
There were lots of cues in the dream to suggest that this wasn't a flashback to my senior year at Mudd --- when I went to change, for instance, it wasn't to my dorm room. Neither of my thesis advisors or my second reader were present, which makes sense in a contemporary way, as my linguistics advisor passed away in November 2001, my computer science advisor was never that interested in the project, and my second reader, the obligatory mathematician on the team (unless you count me), was finally refused a tenure-track faculty position at Mudd this past year, after serving as a visiting prof for longer than anybody in the history of the college (four or five years). On the other hand, my academic advisor was there, and I addressed my talk to her, like I often did, because she asked helpful questions that helped my organize my thoughts and presentation, as was the case in this dream as well.
I woke up thinking that I should really get my act together and revise my thesis, like I started to do some six months after graduation (a healthy cooling-off period, I thought). I lost my inital notes to that project in July 2002, after sitting on them for almost half a year and converting only the abstract and table of contents to HTML. You can see some of that work on my scratch pad, if you're really interested. Someday I will node my thesis, really I will. I apologize in advance for the ASCII art that will be required.