College can be stressful. Exams, assignments, social arrangements. It can be tough. Hannah was learning this the hard way. It was her first year in college, first semester and already she could feel herself buckling under the pressure. In the next week she had to somehow pass three exams in Economics and finish two 2500 word assignments in Geography. She was close to tears.
Sunday night, the night before her first exam, Hannah fell asleep in bed with her Economics books all around her and all over the floor. She slept fitfully. Even in her dreams, the thoughts of the exams hounded her. She stood in a blank white landscape, attacked by flying books and pens. She was close to tears when all of a sudden the attacking stationary flew away. She looked up to see a young man, not much older than herself, in a completely white suit. His hair was neatly combed back and his suit impeccably clean. He reached out and pulled Hannah to her feet.
“A little stressed?”
Hannah nodded. She was about to ask who he was when he interrupted.
“Who I am doesn’t matter. A friend, let’s leave it at that. As for why I’m here – which I’m aware you were about to ask – I’m here to help you along.”
“Help me with what?”
He rolled his eyes. “With college! Exams! Assignments! Stress!” He shook his head piteously. “You need to realise that everything you need to know is in your head. The subconscious is a powerful thing. It paid attention in your lectures even when you didn’t. It knows what you need to know.”
Hannah shook her head. “I really doubt that.”
“Trust me. You’ll be fine. And you’ll get your assignments done on time too. You’ll make it through the week just fine. Now wake up.” He smiled, “You’ll miss your bus.”
The exam came and went, and Hannah found that she in fact did know a lot more than she thought she did. She was out after half an hour and actually felt quite good about herself. Now all she had to do was get her first assignment done for Tuesday and revise for Wednesday’s exam.
Her assignment kept her up late into the night. She had spent about four hours typing before she finished and went to bed, just as stressed as the night before. Again she dreamt of attacking books, and again the white suited man waved them away and calmed her down.
“You’ll be fine.”
Tuesday came and went, and again she dreamt a similar thing that night. Waking up on Wednesday she began to panic again, she practically fainted outside the exam hall. Afterwards however, she felt a similar feeling of calmness. Again she had finished in half an hour, and again she found that she knew more than she thought she had. That night, her second assignment only took two and a half hours to type. She dreamt again of the white suited man, and again his words calmed her mind. Thursday passed without incident and when Hannah got home, she was spent. The week had drained her of all her energy and she fell asleep before she even opened a book for her last exam.
This time there were no books, no pens when her dream began. Just her and the white suited man.
“So, one exam left?” He said. “How, you feeling?”
“Nervous. It’s the hardest exam, I’ve missed about half the lectures and I haven’t opened a book all week on it!”
The white suited man chuckled. He looked at her and pulled a small business card from his jacket pocket.
“Here’s my card. Trust me, you’ll be fine. I know things seem bad, but you’re smart. You’ll make it through okay.” And with that he walked away. Hannah waved goodbye and placed the card in her back pocket.
Hannah breezed through her exam. At last the week was over and all she had to do now was wait nervously for the results. But when she exited the exam hall she felt something in her back jeans pocket. Reaching in she pulled out a small card. Turning it over in her hands, she wondered where it had come from. It was blank on both sides, but something told her she’d want to keep it. She got home and put the card in her safe box beside her bed before falling asleep.
She didn’t dream of the white landscape or the white suited man again. Two months went by and eventually the results came back. She’d passed every exam. As well as that, her two assignments scored 98% and 87%, her highest marks ever. Rushing home she showed her results to her parents, who both congratulated her on a job well done.
As she stood in her room readying for a night out to celebrate, she remembered the blank business card. Opening her safe box, she found the card. The back was still blank white, but Hannah turned it over slowly to see the front…
“I told you you’d be fine.”