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[“Don’t Tell Me Your Major Theme” By Malena Ramnath] Malena: Hey guys, my name is Malena Ramnath.

Allison: This is Allison.

Malena: And we are your hosts and freshmen* here at Northwestern. This is Don't Tell Me Your Major, an interview podcast where we avoid getting to know people on the surface level with questions like what their major is, where they're from, and how old they are. But try to get to know them on a more profound level. That's how you really know the kind of person someone is rather than judging them based on pre-established stereotypes. So today, Allison and I wanted to have a little theme discussion. And recently we've all been talking a bit about dreams through our quarantine boredom, from daydreams to night dreams to actual future dreams that we have. So I figured we'd chat about that. Also, please forgive any audio weirdness that you're hearing because we're all zoom calling from DC to Korea, we’re massive global citizens, so yeah. So the first question that I have written down is, do you have any recurring dreams or nightmares? And do you believe that dreams have meaning? Kind of in conjunction, do you think those recurring dreams mean something?

Allison: Mmm, I don't think I have any recurring dreams these days. But one dream that I remember having like super vividly when I was really little. I don't remember if I was living in Korea, Hong Kong at the time, but I was probably young, in elementary school. And it was, strangely, really traumatic. I don't know why, but it was like, over the course of one night,

Allison: Or one or two nights maybe, but like the first night, I went to bed and I had this dream.

Malena: Mm-hmm.

Allison: Or maybe this was in Korea. Okay. My friend lived in this apartment complex and they had this playground, but the playground had like this little addendum where it kind of looked like, like the front window of a shop, you know, like kind of where the person would stand behind and then.

Allison: you would have customers lining up and then there's a little countertop. And so we would kind of play shop. You know what I mean? Like little kids, they use toys and fake money.

Allison: And the dream took place on that playground. And there was a strange man behind that counter. And I was paying the customer in the shop game.

Allison: And then I went to the counter to do something, you know, play shop, whatever, have fun. And then the man just starts to tickle me. And I could feel it physically. It didn't feel like a dream, I felt like I was physically being tickled in real life and I woke up and I woke up, kind of traumatized, like a little bit anxious, like crying. And I went to my parents' room, and I snuggled right in between my mom and my dad. And I fell back asleep. And I had the exact same dream, nothing changed. I woke up crying again. I was so scared. I kept being tickled. And, you know, tickling doesn't seem serious, but when you don't want to be tickled-

Malena: It’s the worst!

Allison: Yeah, it's horrible. Like, I just feel super out of control.

Malena: Violated!

Allison: And I was like, six or seven years old when this happened.

Malena: Yeah.

Allison: And I just remember waking up like three times in the night because I'm afraid to sleep because the minute I closed my eyes, I keep having the same dream. It was terrifying. I don't know if it means anything. I can see where in my subconscious that setting came from. I don't know where the man and the tickling came from. I don't think I've incurred any childhood trauma to that extent. So I don't know if it necessarily means anything. Maybe I watched something scary. It was too far ago, but yeah, that was a recurring traumatic dream that I had when I was younger. I'll never forget it, it's so fresh in my mind. It feels like it happened like yesterday. Oh god.

Malena: That's so creepy. I hate that. I hate that so much.

Allison: I know isn't that creepy.

Malena: I know, I have pretty bad nightmares but the only one that's really recurring is I have this dream, okay, this is gonna sound really weird but my eyes sometimes they don't fully close when I'm asleep.

Allison: Ohhh yeah.

Malena: I don’t know if you’ve seen me do this when you're napping around me, but my eyes don't fully close a lot of the times and so my brain a lot of times doesn't know if what I'm seeing is a dream or if it's real or if I'm awake or not because my eyes are slightly open. So I'll have this dream where I don't have my glasses on and I can't move, I'm running, I need to get somewhere I need to get something done but I keep spinning in place. It's like I'm stuck in like this weird jello and I can't move but I also can't see like it's this weird blur between knowing I have to move and knowing I have to go somewhere and being able to see it, but not being able to do anything about it and everything is just slightly blurry. I need to find my glasses and put them on. So slowly I've realized that this is like cause I'm seeing my bedroom around me but I can't move cause my body is asleep, but my eyes are open. And so I've been forcing myself to wake up recently. That's as close to lucid dreaming as I've gotten. But in terms of meaning, I don't think it means anything more just like my body doesn't know what's going on. I don't know, that's my recurring dream. I guess like nightmares tend to be more recurring, I guess-

Allison: Yeah.

Malena: So they’re like what we remember more.

Allison: You don’t have recurring good dreams.

Malena: Yeah. But okay, on the other hand, l so that's like, obviously like night dreams, right? But then to, you know, change the subject a little bit. Dreams can also be like, oh, my dream job, my dream house things like that. Right? So my question is for you, if you never had to think about money for the rest of your life, say you were well off, like trust fund baby or something, you know, and you could have whatever dream job you wanted, not thinking about money, not thinking about parental expectations, anything like that. What would your job be?

Allison: Purely a dream? Honestly, I have wanted this since I was really little.

Malena: Mm hmm.

Allison: I don’t know what I would choose. But let's say I had the facilities and the talent.

Malena: Yeah.

Allison: I think I would want to be like a musician. I would want to be a singer, singer/songwriter. Obviously, there's the matter of like, talent.

Malena: You have the talent! This woman is talented, just FYI.

Allison: No no, there's like a question of parental expectations and, you know, reality. But there's also I'm just not good at it enough to make a career out of it, you know? And so I would say if I had the talent and the resources and the connections and all that stuff, then I would say, I would really want to be a musician or a chef. I want to work in a patisserie, like a pastry chef, you know, like French pastry. But that also requires a lot of skill. And it's also I feel a little too late now, you know., I should have started getting more serious about music or cooking a long time ago if I wanted to make a career out of it. But it was always just, you know, hobbies, but honestly I think I'm genuinely the happiest if I'm cooking or baking. Singing and guitar and whatever it gets tiring, you know, I get sick of it, but -

Malena: Yeah.

Allison: Yeah, being a chef or a musician. I think that would be pretty cool.

Malena: Yeah, I totally get that, like playing the piano. I used to play the piano and it's like super rewarding when you get it right, but it can get frustrating really, really easily.

Allison: Yeah. Music is so difficult.

Malena: Yeah, but you also know that I'm tone deaf, so I just have mad respect for that. What else was I gonna say? For me, exposing us, not really. But you and I are both Asian and so we kind of have those Asian parents that are kind of like … My parents have always said to me, they're super chill about everything. But my mom has always said to me, you know, be a doctor who paints on the side, you know that kind of thing. And so when I think about my dream job, okay, it would probably be one of two things. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would be doing other than economics or something like that, you know, but I want to be at a place in my life where I can just move to Europe and flip houses. You know, restore old farms and like, you know, classic, you know, maybe fall in love with my contractor. But like-

Allison: Did you watch Falling Inn Love?

Malena: Yeah, dude, I watched Falling Inn Love.

Allison: Yeah, when you said flip houses. I was like, ah, shit.

Malena: No but just to flip houses and not New Zealand though, you know. Go to Tuscany or something and just eat a ton of pasta and flip houses.

Allison: Honestly that would be the dream, like just a little villa in the rolling green hills of Florence.

Malena: Dude, gorgeous. Or you know if I could just–ok this is hella nerdy. This is my nerd leaking. But if I could just be a reader — like a book editor reader

Allison: Oh shut up. Just did you watch that other movie, wait, did you watch–

Malena: About Time? Yeah, yeah. Okay, I’m sorry, I’m sorry my career choices are based on rom coms, okay. I just wanna read.

Allison: Wouldn’t you get sick of reading, you know, cause it's your job. When you look at a menu, do you ever go, “oh no, I'm not reading that unless you give me cold hard cash.”

Malena: Allison really be quoting About Time line for line. I have mad respect for that. I've watched that movie way too many times.

Allison: Yeah it’s such a good movie

Malena: But yeah, those are my dreams. But kind of branching off from that, do you think it's a good idea? Because I watched so many movies nowadays and they're like, you know, follow your dreams. I just watched Mamma Mia 2, and they're like, “do what makes your soul shine”. and I'm like, do you think that that's a really a realistic goal that people can set for themselves, following their dreams without really considering like the money behind it? Because I definitely know people that are like, “Oh, if you follow your passion, you'll eventually get money for it.” You know, as long as you're working hard at what you love, it'll pan out for you, but do you believe in that, or do you think that’s idealistic?

Allison: Honestly, no. Okay, here's the thing, when I was like a sophomore, my AP bio teacher showed us a video that said don't follow your dreams. Because a lot of the time,dreams are based off of like a warped... I mean, obviously, the word "dreams" imply that it's not reality, you know? And so, you know, I could pursue music or culinary arts or whatever, but the reality is that I don't have the talent or the facilities to be doing that. And if someone told me, you know what, follow your dreams, drop out of school, like, go be a musician or chef, like I would eventually grow to resent that profession because I gave up everything to be in it and it's not working out for me, but also it's no one's fault but my own, you know. I should have known better. I honestly think it's such a cynical thing to say. But there's a difference between what you dream of being and what you're good at. And I just think, if you like, dream about doing something, then do it on the side, you know, let it be for you. And I know people say, do what you love and like, I'm sure you can find something that you are good at and that you also don't

Malena: hate, yeah.

Allison: hate to do. You know, I think it's really difficult to set the standard and say "if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" because in reality, no. Not everyone is interested in money-making things you know, if you really love economics and investment banking, if that's what like gets you going, then you know you're going to be very lucky in life, but most people, l their passions lie elsewhere and in careers that aren't as lucrative, and I think if you tell people to follow their passions, you're kind of setting them up for failure. So, do what you– I would say like for jobs, I would want to do something

Malena: Do what interests you.

Allison: that is going to help me enable me to follow those dreams on my own time, you know?

Malena: No, I totally agree.

Allison: Okay, let's use cooking or baking. If I wanted to cook or bake I need ingredients, you know, I need a good kitchen, you know, I need some sort of money. And if I were to, follow my dream of being a musician or whatever, how could I ever. I'll be paying my bills and doing something I love. But obviously this is going to cause stress and stuff like that. But let's say I did something that I'm good at, you know, I go into some field that I'm good at and it makes me a pretty decent amount of money and then I can do what I love on the side.

Malena: Yeah.

Allison: So it doesn't interfere with, like, my way of life, you know?

Malena: No, I totally agree. And I think that you eventually end up always, if you do something over and over again, you're gonna grow to dislike it in some measure at least. So keep your hobbies for yourself. I totally agree. And I mean, on that note, we are just at time, but I feel like this is an interesting little convo. Good catch up between us, between guests. And we want to hear what you have to think as well, so answer the Google Form at the top of our description here and let us know what you think about these questions. We're very curious as to what our listeners' opinions are. Anyways, that's all from Don't tell Me Your Major, a podcast by NBN Audio and we're signing off. Bye.

Allison: Bye.

[“Don’t Tell Me Your Major Theme” By Malena Ramnath]

*We’re actually sophomores now! This was recorded right before summer :)