Classes have begun to pick up, and midterms will be here before we know it. While ideally students will be prepared weeks in advance, let’s face it – it wouldn’t be college if you weren’t procrastinating. As you get back into the swing of things, bear in mind the following essentials for those times when an all night cram session is in order.
1. Determining a location
Do: Choose a place that you have spent enough time in that you will be able to find the nearest outlets for your chargers, bathroom and vending machine without wasting too much time or having to decide to move due to inconvenience.
Don’t: Expect to be able to pull an all-nighter in your dorm room. While this may work for some, your bed will be calling your name all night.
2. Arriving fully equipped
Do: Think ahead beyond your textbooks and laptop. The second you notice that your lips are chapped and you didn’t bring any chap stick, your motivation will go out the window.
Don’t: Count on other people for things like chargers and pens, especially into the wee hours of the night.
3. Allowing time to eat
Do: Eat a sufficient dinner late in the evening. This should be able to hold you over until breakfast, with the help of a small vending machine snack break (or two) as the night goes on.
Don’t: Convince yourself that you can’t afford a 15-minute dinner break and try to make an entire meal out of vending machine food. Your hunger will only distract you further, and man cannot live on Oreos and Doritos alone.
4. Caffeinating appropriately
Do: Stagger cups of coffee, tea, soda, etc. with food and water.
Don’t: Over-caffeinate to the point where you will crash, shake uncontrollably, or have to pee every five minutes.
5. Choosing a buddy
Do: Look for someone who is up for the challenge. He or she does not need to be studying for the same class as you, as long as you are both devoted to the cause.
Don’t: Let it get you down if your study buddy calls it a night early. Not everyone is cut out for the all-nighter lifestyle.
6. Dressing for the occasion
Do: Dress comfortably. At 3:00 am, a tight pair of jeans that doesn’t allow any wiggle room will become your worst enemy.
Don’t: Wear pajamas. Pajamas mean bedtime. All-nighters mean no bedtime.
7. Avoiding social media
Do: Remember that this is not the time to be distracted. Social media is for every other day of the week when you can afford to procrastinate.
Don’t: Make your friends change your passwords. An occasional social network break will keep you sane, and the time you will spend begging your friends for your password will hinder your productivity.
8. Listening to music
Do: Come prepared with a playlist, including but not limited to a Pandora playlist that won’t get repetitive.
Don’t: Try to procrastinate by making a playlist while working. This will suck you into a whole new project, making it too tempting to escape from your work.
9. Strategizing a nap
Do: Plan for a power nap. This can be from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, after your classes in the afternoon, or into the early evening. Be realistic about how long you will last before napping.
Don’t: Try to take a nap from 2:00 am to 4:00 am, or convince yourself that you can stay up straight through to the next night. Naps are the light at the end of the all-nighter tunnel.
10.Recovering from your all-nighter
Do: Get yourself back onto a normal sleep schedule. Try to limit yourself to a couple all-nighters per semester, if that.
Don’t: Make a regular habit of all-nighters. Getting your body used to that sleep cycle takes much more effort than, well, getting your work done in time.