We’ve All Been There: The All-Nighter

[It doesn’t matter what school you go to, what state it is in, how big it is, whether it is public or private, all girls or coed…there are experiences that all college students share.

No matter how crazy you think your personal situation is, it is not just you. So, let’s bring it all out in the open. Right here. Because you are not alone – we’ve all been there before.]

There are many moments in a college student’s existence that are shared by other students around the globe, but none more common than the All Nighter.

You know on the first day of class that there will be a 12-page paper due this Friday. You highlighted it, and put it in your planner. But as the weeks went by – and you sorta stopped showing up for class – you kept pushing the paper off. “I’ll start it this weekend,” you tell yourself a week before it’s due.

But the weekend comes, and with it comes an impromptu house party at your place Friday night, a long recap/hangover session on Saturday, a birthday party Saturday night and work on Sunday. No time for a paper.

You assure yourself that you will do it a little each night this week, but it takes you until Wednesday to realize that heading to the library with the girls and a bag of Baked Lays is not the best way to be productive.

So, now it’s Thursday and the 12-page paper is looming. You scarf down some dinner, say TTFN to the roomies (who are pre-drinking for Thirsty Thursday), and embark on a long-ass night of research and paper writing.

You stop at the drug store on the way and pick up a few things: a couple Red Bulls, a bottle of water, a bag of chips and a Snickers bar. The combination of sugar and caffeine should get you through. When you arrive at the library (because there is no way in hell you’d get this paper done at home), you run past the scene in the reading room and scope out a quiet table in the middle of nowhere so you can’t be distracted. You unpack all of your things, spread them out on the table, turn on your laptop (and turn off your AIM), and get all settled in when you realize that the table you are sitting at is not near an outlet.


So, you pack everything back up and find another place to sit.

The first 2 hours go by quickly and you get a lot done: you have the thesis, you have a plan, and now you just have to get writing. You drink a Red Bull and pump out 1.5 pages in the next 30 minutes. And then you crash and start drooling on your keyboard. It’s a war between you and your brain, but you know you must win. You get up, walk around a bit, then come back to write some more.

At some point near about 3am, you eat a little more sugar and pump out the rest of the paper. Your hands are shaking, your eyes are teary, and you are pretty sure you just compared Shakespeare to Will I. Am., but at least you are getting this thing done.

At 5am you finally finish the first draft. It is time to review but you can’t keep your eyes open. You begin to have an internal battle: “If I don’t go home and get some sleep I am going to be a zombie and won’t be able to contribute in class anyway, but if I don’t review the paper and make edits it is totally gonna suck. But, sleep is great. But grades are great. But my bed is so warm and comfy, and this chair sucks, but nothing sucks more than failing this stupid class….”

At some point you pass out.

Eventually you are startled awake (head on desk isn’t very comfortable) and have just under an hour to finish the paper, print it and turn it in.  You are running on pure adrenaline at this point – running from computer to printer to desk to class. You get the paper in just in time, then sneak out of the back of the lecture hall to crawl back into your bed for the rest of the day.

Yeah, we’ve all been there. And don’t worry; we didn’t look as cute and put together as the girl in the picture, either.

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