You can’t make me go back to school

It’s that time of year again. How do I know? Not because the kids are swarming the elementary school at the bottom of my hill or the stores are full of backpacks and spiral-bound notebooks, but because I had a school anxiety dream.

Everyone has their own version of these. Mine usually involve being in a class I don’t understand, trying to convince the teacher that I am way too old to be in school.

My elementary school (long before I attended). I'm not going back!
My elementary school (long before I attended). I’m not going back!

This time, instead of dismissing the dream as nothing more than a stress response to my own kids returning to school, I got to thinking: what if I explore the areas where I might benefit from going back to school? Sure, I’m way past school age, but that doesn’t mean I can’t expand my mind. What lessons are out there waiting for me? How might I approach old situations in a new way? Could I, perhaps, even become something new?

It’s worth considering.

However, I promised a reprieve from the heavy-duty posts of the last few months. So that’s as much self-analysis as you’ll get for today. Instead, let’s go back to school together. Let’s take a tour of some of the cool science and philosophy sites I’ve discovered while researching my new novel about the intersection of technology and humanity. (If you follow me on Twitter, you may be aware of some of them.)

Reading just a few stories or watching a video or two from each of these is an education in itself. And, of course, a mighty distraction, but that’s a topic for another post.


“Since September 2012, Aeon has been publishing some of the most profound and provocative thinking on the web. It asks the biggest questions and finds the freshest, most original answers, provided by world-leading authorities on science, philosophy and society.” Some bite-sized, some long; some written, some video. I love the wide-ranging topics.

Whewell’s Gazette

“Your weekly digest of all the best of Internet history of science, technology and medicine.” That just about says it all. Science birthdays, links to articles (popular and academic) on physics, astronomy, cartography, medicine, technology, life sciences, chemistry, esoterica, and more. I could—and have—gotten lost in these. I have bookmarked many to come back to. A curated feast.


“MakeUseOf is the world’s leading destination for learning more about technology and the many ways that it can improve your life.” From the practical (“Turn your phone into a personal security device for emergencies”) to the not-so (“How to make your own Dr. Who adventure for the BBC”).

TED talks on science

“A collection of TED Talks (and more) on the topic of science.” For those who like to hear from the source rather than reading.

Science-Based Medicine

“Science-Based Medicine is dedicated to evaluating medical treatments and products of interest to the public in a scientific light, and promoting the highest standards and traditions of science in health care.” It seems odd to me that presenting this as a favorite site might amount to a political statement. That’s one of the things that fascinates me about the current state of our culture: we argue over who has the right to define what is true.


“Technology isn’t all about bits and processors. It’s the car with no driver, human organs printed in a lab and leisurely flights into space. It’s the future and we’re here to tell you all about it.” Probably the most commercial of the sites, but great for looking ahead.


“ is the world’s largest, most popular trend community.” More pop culture than deep science, but fascinating nonetheless, and definitely future-focused, featuring everything from gesture-controlling rings to 3-printed medical tools.

I’ll leave you with a taste of one of the recent videos from Aeon.


Where do you go to learn new things? And what do your school-anxiety dreams look like?

From the archives: My last back-to-school post from 2013.

14 thoughts on “You can’t make me go back to school

Add yours

  1. Wow! Dreams about school? Did I go to school? I must have done, mustn’t I, despite my frail grasp of the English language. No, my dreams are usually about being lost in strange situations – a town I have never seen before: how did I get there? Who is this person I must find, someone I dropped off somewhere and promised to pick up? I find my way to all sorts of new sites in my internet travels. The cue is usually just a word, and that word leads to another, and so on. Thanks for these: I’ll return later and check them out.


  2. I’ll have to try to look at some of those sites. (I’ve been tweeting things from a site called ScienceDaily.)

    The dream where I suddenly remember that I’m enrolled in classes and haven’t been attending or doing the reading – that I don’t even know my class schedule, or the rooms, or anything – is one of my classic anxiety dreams that I can have at any time of year.


  3. This is the most brilliant thing I’ve seen today. How to save this for future reference? HMM. You are bookmarked. Thanks. And yes. Still have those school nightmares. Weird how deep the memory is wedged into our subconsciousness.


    1. Thank you. I wish I had a good solution for saving all those interesting things I want to get to later. Right now, it mostly consists of opening each thing in a new tab of my browser, but that gets quite overwhelming.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You took me back to school and I learned something. Thanks for the links!
    I’m so glad you stopped by to Drop and Hop. I hope you’re finding other blogs to read. There are more new bloggers rolling in!


  5. Such a great list of sites. Thank you!

    As for having school dreams, it happens to me too. I’m usually in a class with a workload I can’t possibly handle given everything else going on in my life. This leads to panic, because, of course, I have to get an ‘A’. I also frequently still have waitressing dreams, even though I haven’t waitressed in over two decades. In fact, the night before my son left for college, I dreamed I was waitressing AND seeing patients at the same time! Was this my brain’s way of wondering if my son could handle things? Or am I just weird? Wait. Don’t answer that…


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