I'm interested in how significant events from daily life get encoded or translated into dream content. A personal observation can help clarify my question:
I've observed that for me, "significant, futile mental effort" translates into dreams of me being in a classroom in my old middle school. The kind of mental effort dictated which classroom I will see - history, language or math.
It took me years to make the connection, as the frequency of the dream was rather high while attending school and college. It is only after I started working that I noticed dreams of classrooms were gone and only reappeared following intense, but perceived as pointless mental effort to learn or grasp or produce something.
I'm familiar with the Freud's theories on how wish fulfillment and repressed sexual desires show up in dreams. On the other hand I'm aware of the much discredited concept of "dream interpretation" with dictionaries of dream symbols.
Have there been studies that lay in between the two extremes listed above and attempted to elicit connections between daily events and how they appear in dreams? Maybe attempts to create personal dream dictionaries, like the one I described in the example?