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All-nighters... A necessary evil of finals week

I think we all know that no matter how much time you are given to write a final paper or to finish a project, you’re going to end up cramming it into the last few days – or even the night before it’s due. Procrastination is one thing, but students always have all-nighters come in to save the day. Since I’ve been in college I’ve pulled plenty of all-nighters to finish Spanish homework, research papers and to study for tests. These all happened around the time of midterms (which is always a terrible time), but I think all-nighters also have their downsides. To no one’s surprise, I once stayed up all night to write a five-page paper that was due the next day. While it was an acceptable use of my sleep time because I finished the paper on time and got credit for my midterm, all I remember from that blurry night was typing in tiny 12 point font and researching books from class that I never read. It was a sleepless night, but it was very productive and it rewarded me, which I think is what made it a good use of my time.

A good all-nighter is not a night without sleep for no reason, but rather one in which you successfully finished what you needed to. When you are running on no sleep you will get momentarily distracted, of course, but in the end you have an overall mission. The best part of it is that once you finish that last paragraph it feels like your life is complete.

On the other hand, I’ve also had the experiences of staying up all night to study for tests that I really needed to ace (my first mistake was failing Spanish, my second mistake was thinking that I could get an A on a test). Cramming the amount of information that is meant to be learned over a semester in one night is not only difficult, but it’s also a ridiculous hoax. I had a sea of flashcards, a sticky note sweater and mountain-high stack of notes to study all night long.

I’m not going to lie; I got a B+ on the test, but at the cost of some harsh side effects. When there’s no assignment or anything to finish there is no mission, and this makes getting through the night more difficult than expected. Your vision gets blurry, your brain feels like mush and, to be quite honest, it turns you into a mess. After the test I didn’t retain any of the information, but I am no longer failing the class.

Creating and sticking to study habits becomes more and more difficult as you grow older because you’ve grown up learning ways to get around certain circumstances. All-nighters come from the dark side within. We all know we should be studying or writing papers in advance, but sometimes, for whatever reason, you just can’t sit down and do it. The thing is, when you’re young it’s easier to put yourself through the lack of sleep, but there comes a point when you stop putting your work off and you open your laptop and actually begin the assignment.

I promise you’ll feel relieved when your friend texts you at 10 p.m. the night before it’s due asking how they should start their intro. I wish everyone luck on their finals coming up and encourage everyone to stay calm and collective in this time of all-nighter desperation!


The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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