the sweet, sweet all-nighter. some people swear by it, others declare it is insane. some cannot handle it, and others can power through the day on maybe a 20 minute cat nap, maybe no sleep at all. however you feel about it, it is difficult to deny its power to strike fear in the hearts of students, especially when you thought your days of all-night study or paper writing sessions ended with undergrad. i have to be honest, as much as i hate all-nighters, i have done some of my best work at 4 or 5 am. they are always entertaining and crazy stories to talk about in hindsight, but when it’s nearing 4 (as it is right now), the story does not seem so funny. in fact, it seems like downright torture. i like to think that an all-nighter can be broken down into stages, which, while they may differ person to person, might look something like this:
9 pm. for some reason, 9 is my magic time. if i haven’t gotten something done by 9, i start to panic and either go into work mode, or somehow get nothing done, and then freak out. maybe this is also when you’d start to have munchies and usually end up eating something you’ll regret later.
11 pm. other people start leaving, but you’ve still got a couple allies left in the library/wherever. that girl who has like ten coffee cups and several amp cans and is totally going to crash by midnight. that guy who’s walked past your desk like ten times – has this kid done anything of value at all in the past hour, or is he on a nightly stroll? the two girls who are whispering to each other about something stupid, and think they’re being quiet but really they are louder than if they talked in normal voices. the guy passed out in the only comfortable chair in the room. but, somehow, you’re still somewhat on the ball.
1 am. okay, get off the facebook. seriously. or email. or whatever. the amp girl has totally passed out, and you haven’t seen the stroller in at least twenty minutes. the library’s clearing out, but now there’s some new additions. some guy freaking out about orgo, a girl making some flash cards, and the security guard checking school IDs. but you still might leave. you’ve got time.
2:30 am. okay, now it’s serious. almost 3. and you’ve still got…one sentence. which says “i want to cry” or something like that. not exactly a thesis statement. now you’re starving and would eat pretty much anything that was in the vending machine, even pork rinds, or fifty year old ring dings, or whatever awaits. but you only have like, 50 cents. dammit. so now you’re thinking, maybe i could go get some food and come back. and some coffee. lots and lots of coffee. but once you make the pilgrimage for food/caffeine, you are in it for the long haul.
3 am. time for coffee and maybe some sweet fries or pizza or something artery clogging.
4 am. how is it 4??? how have you gotten nothing done???????????
4:17 am. YOU’VE GOT IT. YOU’VE TOTALLY GOT IT.
4:18 am. power writing for the next…however long you can keep going
5 am. wait. maybe this doesn’t make sense. maybe i’m insane. but it’s too late now, gotta go with it.
6:45 am. okay. this is usable. this paper is not total crap. 10 pages. livable. just have the references left. and if i had an acknowledgements section, the only things i would thank are coffee, mountain dew, and…oh hey look, the strolling guy is back. where has he been the past three hours? ten hours? you have no clue at this point because you’ve gone insane.
7:30 am. how did it take 45 minutes to type up ten sources?
8:10 am. why are you checking your email? GO HOME.
8:24 am. still have class to go to…have not showered. awesome.
8:30 am. get some coffee and go to class. turn in paper.
10:01 am. pass the EFF out.
does this sound familiar to anyone else?