It’s a quarter to midnight and sophomore Dave Harris just put Return of the Jedi back on the shelf. He shuffles his feet down the hallway ready to make the plunge into a long-awaited sleep. Just as his thoughts of the day begin to fade into incoherent dreams, Dave’s stomach does a back flip, his eyes snap open, and he finds himself in a cold sweat. The first of three 10 page research papers for Ethics and Values is due tomorrow at 8 A.M., and he knows just about as much about Nietzche’s Reevaluation of Values as your creepy great-uncle Barney. Unfortunately for Dave, freshman and seniors alike, the time will come to kick it into hyper-active-hyper-drive and pull the first – and certainly not the last – all-nighter of the semester.
Not to fear, diligent students, eventually the sun will rise and the moment of impending doom will pass. In the meantime, here are some useful tips that will help you to not go down until the sun comes up – and the assignment is done and safe in your professors arms.
1. Eat food. Initial thoughts may be to grab an energy drink. This is an okay option, but be weary of it only lasting about halfway through the night. If energy drinks are a must, go for sugar free, to avoid the sugar crash. But your best bet will be healthy foods such as almonds and oranges to keep your brain going.
2. Make a schedule and set goals. Don’t dive in head-first and drown in some crazed research overload. Look over the syllabus for what’s expected in the assignment and plan accordingly. Work on one part at a time, break this daunting task down and stick to it. Be sure to take time to get up every little while to stretch, use the restroom and keep your brain juices a flowin’.
3. Avoid social sites. In your moment of catastrophe, the desire for the ever comforting sound blip of facebook chat is understood. However, blogging about your unfinished homework will not get your homework any closer to being completed! Shocking, we know. Avoid any and all entertainment sites to stay better focused on the task at hand.
4. Atmosphere. Depending on what kind of attention span or impulse control you have, the right atmosphere will make all the difference. You most likely will want to keep the lights on and consider having some music playing. It’s up to personal preference on what music will best help you stay awake and focus, but would Clair De Lune be suggested? Probably not. The goal here is to stay awake.
5. Avoid them altogether. The best kinds of all-nighters are the ones spent sound asleep in your bed getting the necessary rest that college life demands. Be social, have fun, but make sure you get your school work done in the meantime, not in the wee hours of the morning. This will guarantee better grades – and better sleep.
To procrastinators, all-nighters, and spacey students alike; we salute you.