According to Archinet, Architecture Majors work the hardest. It's said they work up to 22.2 hours a week. As a former architecture major, I'd call that number conservative. I've got a lot beautiful Snapchats my freshmen year of the sun rising. I've stayed up so long I've begun to lose my short-term memory concept of time. Thankfully, I escaped that hellish, unhealthy cycle, but I mastered the art of the all-nighter. In honor of mid-terms, here are my tips:
1. For the love of God, take a nap.
If you anticipate that you might need to pull all-nighter later, close Netflix and take a nap instead. If you go to bed at 4 p.m. and wake up at 8 p.m., it will be a lot harder to fall asleep at 12 a.m.. However, most all-nighters are unexpected (why wouldn't you work in the day if you could.) If the time comes at 2 a.m. when you can't keep your eyes open, set an alarm for an hour later (actually, set five.) Sleep isn't your enemy, but your friend. You may feel a little groggier when you wake up, but the feeling will pass. You will not only be energized to work but be energized the next day. The last thing you want to do is fall asleep in the class you worked so hard for.
2. Your exercise playlist is your best friend.
Sorry, 24/7 Lo-fi Hip-Hop Beats for Gaming/Studying. Ambient background music may seem like the ultimate study aid, but it's also the best sleep aid. The energized, hype playlist you use to get you going on the stair master is much better suited for an all-nighter. It's psychological.
3. Make sure your friends are with you.
This may seem like a distraction, but you're way less likely to stay motivated if you're studying by yourself. There's a certain unique solidarity in doing nothing together. Additionally, when studying, you can't just read words on a book. You need to ask questions and be engaged. Write on the whiteboard. Quiz each other. Play a game. My architecture friends were and are like my family. When you're getting discouraged and want to quit, your friends will be there to kick your ass! They're also much more reliable than your alarm and will force you out of your nap.
You've finished your project at 6 a.m. and class is at 8 a.m.. If you go home and go to bed now, you will never get up. How do you spend the next two hours? With an addicting TV show. Let's be real, you've seen the sunrise more times watching a Shonda Rhimes show than studying.
5. Eat and drink.
This is just science. Food has energy. It doesn't have to be bitter black coffee. Just sustain yourself. Taco Bell is always open. Go with Friends. Nothing sustained me more during an all-nighter than a goofy, surreal Taco Bell trip at 4 am.
6. Take breaks.
Most of my points can be generalized under this. An all-nighter is not a sprint, but a marathon. Take a goddamn break. We've all gotten to that point reading an academic text where we're not absorbing a single freaking word. Take a break. Get food. Take a nap. Watch an episode of a show that isn't addictive. Come back with a refreshed and with a better attitude.
7. Set goals.
It may seem counterproductive for me to tell you to take a break. That's why it's important to pace yourself and set goals. Starbucks opens at 7 am. In one hour, I will have read pages 150-200. By 2 am, I want to have two sections and one elevation done. Before I can take a break, I must make 25 more flashcards. Know realistically what you can and can't get done.
8. Don't get overwhelmed.
This is the all-nighter's real enemy, not sleep. All-nighters are unhealthy, and with time management, they can be avoided. If you're pulling an all-nighter, the odds are you're in a bad spot and did not plan ahead. It can be easy to get down on yourself, with not a lot of sleep and the deadline fast approaching, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed like you're a terrible student and that you won't be able to finish. Don't go there. You can't change what you didn't do in the past and you're not any less of a student for it. These negative thoughts are the worst thing for most counterproductive thing for an all-nighter.
Follow my advice, remain calm, and get shit done.