Surviving an Essay all-nighter

All-nighters are all part of the university experience for a lot of students. For most, they’re a grimacing experience. But some thrive under pressure, producing their best work when most are asleep.

Surviving an Essay all-nighter

Surviving an Essay all-nighter

Having witnessed my housemates leaving essays to the last minute and staying up all hours of the night to complete the work. I’ve never understood why they didn’t follow my example – do a little bit each night and have it done in plenty of time. I thought there much be some sort of rush or something, so I decided to experiment and give it a go. Needless to say it wasn’t pretty, however the quality of the work wasn’t too different from how I normally write (perhaps I write awful essays.) The truth is that all-nighters to finish an essay are dreadful, lonely and exhausting.

It’s midnight and the panic is setting in. You have 7 or so hours to smash this essay out yet your mind is blank. Your mind slowly moves from thoughts of freedom in the morning, when the confines of your bedroom cease to be prison walls and you can finally sink under that soft duvet to thoughts of impending doom. Somehow those 200 words on the computer screen have to become 5,000. You don’t have the faintest idea how this is going to happen – in fact you’re quite sure it’s almost impossible.

How can you conquer this? Simple – food, drink and focus.

First of all, calm down. Say you have 12 hours – that’s a lot of time. Plan how you are going to tackle it, move around your a house a bit to get your energy up, if you start in a slump the only way is down!

Then, you need to enter that zone of pure focus and determination. You may never have ventured there before, but the time is now.

If your essay doesn’t require an internet connection, then disable it. If you need internet access for work then install something like Facebook limiter – software that allows you to block Facebook for a specified time period. Other procrastinations can be removed by willpower, funny videos on YouTube may seem a welcome break from your essay, but 5 minutes laughing at a fat kid on a rollercoaster can soon turn into an hour, can you afford to waste that time?

Nourishment wise, you want a mix of carbs that slowly release energy, alongside the odd sweet treat to perk you up. I’d recommend a bowl of cereal or porridge with a bit of honey.

Stay away from energy drinks, they promise to keep you going but in reality you will peak and then crash not long after. If you must, have a sugary tea, coffee or a soft drink – they’ll bring you back to life enough to continue without burning you out in about an hour!

Done? Get into bed and enjoy the feeling that you’re slowly getting closer to the life changing moment when you realise you will never have to write one again!

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