Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pulling a Successful All-Nighter

The bane of every college student in existence is the dreaded all-nighter--the inevitable result of the combination of procrastination, lack of time, and the comeuppance of too many things at once. Since its midterm season here in university-land, and seeing as I just pulled a mini all-nighter last night writing a paper, I thought I'd share with all of you my tips on how to successfully pull an all-nighter and get all of your stuff done.

Tip #1: Find a Quiet Space
Gather all of the work you need to do (i.e., textbooks, notebooks, pencils, laptop, etc) and find a quiet space to work in. Its unbelievably easy to get distracted by your roommates or floormates, so remove temptation with self-imposed isolation.

Tip #2: Bring Munchies
Having something to snack on relieves any hunger pains while also giving your brain a bit of a break. Doing an activity that requires little mental capacity, such as snacking, gives your pounding head a bit of rest, allowing it to focus on a rather mindless action. Also, the consistent movement of your hand and arm to and from your face will keep you awake. Trust me, it works.

Tip #3: Caffeinate
I know, I know, caffeine bad, water good. But in the case of an all-nighter, caffeine is vital. It stimulates your brain, allowing you to stay up past your regular physical capacity. Your favorite soda works, but drinks like tea, iced tea, or coffee actually have 3x more caffeine than your average can of soda. If you're really ambitious, you can go for the evil energy drinks, but be prepared for one hell of a crash in 4 hours!

Tip #4: Switch up Topics
When pulling an all-nighter, you will most likely be working on at least two or more subjects at once. In order to balance your intake of knowledge, switch topics every 45-60 minutes. This will give your brain a little break from whatever topic your looking at, and allow you to get more work done.

Tip #5: Take Breaks
Give yourself little 5-10 minute breaks every once in a while to relax. Stand up and stretch, take a quick jog down your hallway, go to the bathroom, do anything you need to do before you get back to work. Breaks will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by all of your schoolwork.

Tip #6: Change Position
If you've been sitting in the same spot for 2.5 hours and can no longer feel your ass, move! Readjusting the way your sitting keeps you awake and is so much more comfortable. Start sitting normally, then sit on one leg and then switch, or you can sit Indian-style. Try non-conventional poses, like sitting backwards in the chair, or laying with your legs resting vertically against the wall. Trust me, it works.
And never, ever, ever, EVER lay down completely. You WILL fall asleep, no matter the amount of caffeine that is going through your veins.

Tip #7: Know When to Quit
If you're looking at your book or your computer screen and the text starts looking a little like this: sdofn eoifdvd sdfnkre dofj eodfja oreif doso doif wenl cat
you should probably go to bed. Believe me, when your reading skills revert to the level of a dog, you're done for the night. This is your brain's way of telling you "I hate you and I'm ending this." Do yourself a favor and go to bed. Otherwise, you're gonna end up with weird notes that say "the key to social change is pigskins" or "all aliens are all aliens are all aliens with cats." No bueno.

I hope the tips are helpful for all you students/slackers out there. Good luck!

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