Kids, Don’t Try This At Home…

Last night, I pulled my very first Johns Hopkins all-nighter at the library. And no, I didn’t cheat and take little five minute naps here and there…it was a legit all-nighter. I headed down to the library at around 11:55pm with my brief case and neatly spread out my mint-conditioned Vector Calculus textbook, my gold embroidered spiral-bound notebook, and my fancy Visconti fountain pen on an empty desk on M-level. I then sat down, opened my textbook to the first problem set question, and began. At about 6:45am, I victoriously finished the problem set, headed out of the library just in time to grab breakfast at the FFC and get ready for my 9:00am physics section. I then breezed through the afternoon and submitted my beautifully completed problem set during my calculus section at the end of the day. You know…it was no big deal.

MSE Library!

Reality Check: as much as I would love to brag about being able to stay awake for nearly 36 hours without succumbing to even the most profound weight of the night’s soporific triggers, an all-nighter is definitely not an experience I would like to repeat. The library at midnight is pretty lively though; however, once 2:00am comes around, the place begins to gradually clear out, leaving behind only the ¬†victims of excessive coursework and perpetrators of procrastination. I’d consider myself both. Luckily, I was accompanied by my nocturnal guitar strumming floormate, and with the help of caffeine, a 3:00am Subway run, and multiple Sporcle breaks, we managed to stay awake the entire time without crashing for even a minute. My old, worn-out copies of used textbooks were messily scattered across the desk, while I struggled to crank out each problem set question on scrap paper; and the greatest of all, having to deal with the tip of my flimsy mechanical pencil snapping off literally every two seconds. I don’t want to recall how much my eyes burned, having to stare at my textbook for hours in a row trying to understand the course material. But alas, even my finished problem set was far from truly being finished. By the time I got to the last couple of questions, I simply scribbled down some work, made up some answers, and called it quits by 6:45am.

I tried to take one of those artsy pictures where only the words on the page are in focus and the background is not.

And that was just during the all-nighter. I then proceeded to suffer from post all-nighter syndrome. The walk back from the library was far more painful than usual. Then again, it may have had something to do with the fact that it was freezing outside and my guitar strumming floormate and I were completely disoriented from our lack of sleep. After getting breakfast at the FFC (and by breakfast, I mean coffee), I tried to get at least one hour of sleep before my 9:00am class. 10 minutes into my nap, my Alaskan roommate’s alarm clock went off and after that, it was hard for me to fall back asleep again. Physics section in the morning was nearly impossible to sit through: I kept feeling dizzy and I absolutely could not focus or pay attention to the lesson. Following section, I had to attend lab, and following lab, I ended my day with my calculus section, where I got to finally hand in my “beautifully completed” problem set. Even at its eventual completion, I knew I would have to face the possibility of a low grade on the assignment. It would probably be wise to not put next week’s problem set off to the last minute to prevent myself from having a sequel to this episode.

I kid you not, pulling an all-nighter in college is possibly THE WORST way to get anything done. There are so many other ways to cope with the workload that your classes throw at you. I cannot stress enough how important time management is at Hopkins, for unlike high school, it is pretty much never going to work out in your favor if you do all your assignments the night before they are due. Start working on the assignments at least two days before their due dates. In addition, make use of the various tutoring services available on campus. There are a lot.  It is true that you may have to give up a lot of relaxation and socializing in order to follow a reasonable work routine, but I promise you, it is not worth risking your grades and losing sleep. If you manage to have a proper study/work routine, your academic life here can be very enjoyable and stress free. It just takes planning and motivation to accomplish.

So yeah, that was basically my day and everything I wanted to share. In short, all-nighters are bad. Don’t do it.

Feel free to ask me any questions about student life or about Hopkins in general and I will answer them right away!

2 thoughts on “Kids, Don’t Try This At Home…

  1. Congrats on completing this collegiate rite of passage, but I am glad you came to the conclusion that all-nighters are no good. I unfortunately learned that lesson in my senior year — multiple all-nighters in a row to complete your senior thesis is also not a good idea. (Understatement!)