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Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Observer

The art of the all-nighter

It takes a special combination of homework, Monster Energy drinks and utter franticness to inspire the all-nighter. I’ve had my fair share of them, so rest assured that you’re getting an expert opinion. And this expert believes they get a bad rap, so I’m here as an advocate — a believer in the art of the all-nighter. Just hear me out on five points … 

1. You won’t be able to pull all-nighters forever.

Let’s face it, people use this excuse of fleeting youth to defend practices much worse than the all-nighter. College produces a seemingly endless flow of work. There is always something(s) you could be doing — the something(s) which just never seem(s) to make it to the top of the to-do list. What if you just did them all? What if you stayed up all night just doing this/these something(s) which never get done? What would happen? Nothing. You’re a college student — fatigue is just part of the job description.

2. All-nighters remind me life should take place in the present.

Some nights, the workload feels like a monster — it’s alive, actively growing and working against me. But I’ve changed my mindset towards battling this enemy. Instead of racing to finish as much as possible as quickly as possible, I’ve begun to prioritize the present. Rushing to complete my work might win future Kelsey a couple of hours of shut-eye, but present Kelsey would pay the costly price of hours of stressful work. Instead, I’ve begun to embrace the “it’ll get done" mindset. I listen to absurd music, talk to those that pass by and laugh at myself through the night. I’d rather spend all night enjoying myself than a late night of misery. In the end, it always gets done.

3. All-nighters make you cherish the power of mindset.

First of all, college isn’t that serious. Life isn’t that serious, at least not serious enough to prevent you from laughing about it. And secondly, I’m here to tell you it’s possible to make almost anything fun. Just make it into a joke. Laugh at yourself falling apart — it’s more fun that way. Once you’ve accepted the all-nighter, once you’ve stopped working towards the possibility of sleep, you can embrace the all-nighter. And trust me, you’ll be surprised by the transformative power of Disney music at 3 a.m. 

4. Try to stay awake in class the next day.

Okay, this might sound sarcastic, but it becomes genuinely funny when you are taking notes in a theology class, and you’ve actually managed to misspell “Jesus” (true story … ). But in all seriousness, the following night’s sleep will be almost as transformative as the “Moana” soundtrack the night prior. 

5. All-nighters keep life interesting.

This is what I like to call “The Roller Coaster Effect.” It is the draw to do things outside the bounds of our normal existence. When we step outside these bounds, we feel the most. It heightens our senses. Who knows, you might even strike genius once the clock strikes 4 a.m. If not, you can count on at least one comical existential crisis when you hear the birds chirping. Plus around 6 a.m., the early risers make the mistake of believing you’re disciplined like them — which I find pretty funny.

Before you run off to buy your energy drinks, let me advise you to be stingy with your all-nighters. If your night’s workload seems unconquerable, then yes, I would say an all-nighter might actually help. However, let me make it known I’m not defending a night spent procrastinating or binge-watching that new Netflix show — leave those under-justified all-nighters for the summer. 

But perhaps the ultimate purpose of an all-nighter is simply spontaneity. There is a recent trend in “creating healthy habits.” This tends to manifest into lists, calendars and schedules, planning out quite literally every second of the day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I use a planner every day, and I encourage it. But I think we have taken it too far — we have become prisoners to our schedules. Life should be led in the present because the present is all we have. Planning is a trap — too much of it and we accidentally spend our lives waiting. Like all great art, the all-nighter is a rejection, a protest against this waiting game. It is a harnessing of the side of us which loves roller coasters; it is a heroic dissent from our schedules. Try it. Just say “screw it.”

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.