My impression on all-nighters and how to get through it
You see some people heading to POP, others leaving the library, some taking the bus back to Leamington or Coventry, but for you, the night has just started and it’s going to be a long one. What’s at stake? An essay done by the morning, one term worth of module X’s information getting assimilated overnight. So you’re preparing for an all-nighter. If you’ve ended up in this situation, it’s probably not the most exiting thing for you either, or maybe you’re a veteran in this area and my post may not speak to you at all. Either way, here is my advice for all-nighters.
I’ll start by saying that my stance towards it is that a one-time experience may be positive, but you should not turn it into a habit. Even if you feel your productivity level is at its peak at 4 am in the morning, it is still unnatural for your body to cope with the pressure of staying active at this times, most probably while being high on caffeine or worse, energy drinks, which I absolutely encourage you to cut off completely. I remember the one time I tried an all-nighter, in term 3 of my first year. After 3 am, I started experiencing a feeling of nervousness and pressure and those feelings mostly kept me from focusing on my essay. I was yawning every two minutes and I realized that even if I manage to put something together, it is still not going to be of high quality. I’m not a fan of coffee either, so, little after 3 am, I abandoned it, deciding to wake early in the morning and finish what I started. If you’ve got a similar experience, then all-nighter is definitely not for you. I’d say that, when you know in advance that time management may be a problem for you and that particular essay is going to give you a hard time, try to get an extension as early as possible so as not to realize in the last minute that your extension hasn’t been approved and all-nighter is indeed your last option. No need to lie in your extension request. Explain your situation and struggles and your argument may be seen as viable. If you’re just a master of procrastination, you may not want to let them know it.
If you haven’t tried an all-nighter yet but the little evil spirit from your shoulder encourages you to, then here are some tips to get through:
~ leave your Instagram feed for one night – you don’t want to realize at the end of the night that you’ve spent one third of your time scrolling purposelessly through social media. That is only going to add up to the frustration;
~ take a little break every hour or so – use it wisely: listen to jazz, blues, rock, absolutely anything that keeps you going. Don’t go for the slow ballads though, you still want to stay awake;
~ have enough food for the night – some junk food is fine, but don’t exaggerate as that is not going to keep your energy up. Get some fresh fruits and some sweet treats;
~ if you have a friend who wants to do an all-nighter too, do it together – some moral support may prove helpful;
~ don’t drink too much tea – it is going to have the reverse effect and amplify your tiredness.
Statistics say that around 80% of a person’s work is done in only 20% of the available time. After all, that all-nighter time may be one of the many university experiences that make these years a whole. Keep in mind that this should be the emergency choice and hopefully, not a habit. If you’ve just successfully passed your all-nighter experience, I congratulate you and strongly recommend you to go to sleep because tomorrow’s a new day and a new lecture. Sweet dreams!