You are young and excited and ready to conquer the world. You’re a student. The whole world and its opportunities are lying ahead, waiting for you to explore them. You feel like you are the protagonist of some sort of teenage movie, where you go off to college and suddenly everything falls into place.
STOP RIGHT THERE! (Well, read on…)
Think You’ll Go to Every Lecture and Be Super Organised? Think Again!
Everything I’ve just mentioned in my introduction is how a typical student-to-be feels – and that’s totally normal and how it should be. BUT along with finding yourself and the path which you want to take in life, you do have to face the – not so dreamy – side of student life.
That side where you have to wake up for a 9 am lecture while it’s raining outside and your bed is literally wooing you to stay. That side where you decide to listen to your bed and miss all those lectures because you convince yourself that you will catch up through the online slides. That side where that almost NEVER happens and you end up two days before your deadline, with 3000 words waiting to be written – and you have no idea how to go about this ‘mission impossible’.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!
Let Me Tell You About ‘All-Nighters’ and How to Pull One
Everyone will have to face the famous ALL-NIGHTERS at some point during their studies. To get the most out of yours, you will need a plan!
Worry not. I am here to give you some tips so you can survive your all-nighter – simply follow this 12 Step Plan.
KEEP CALM AND GET PLANNING
Do not panic! Think positive and get organised so you can manage the time you have available in the best possible way. See it this way: any work you do now is going to be better than no work done at all. So keep calm and make it count.
Avoid the Dangers of a Messy Desk
Tidiness around us can help us have tidiness in our mind. Really, I’m not kidding. If you’re pulling your all-nighter in your room, make sure to tidy up and have a clean work place. If you’re going to the library (recommended!) make sure you arrive there early to find a quiet spot that you’ll feel comfortable working in for the next few hours.
You Will Need Some Sleep
Take a power nap to energise yourself before your all-nighter. I find that napping between 20 or 30 minutes makes me feel more refreshed and alert. If you need more than that and can afford to sleep for 1 – 2 hours, great. But always remember to set an alarm. As we all know a nap can easily end up lasting hours and you don’t want to wake up wondering which century you are in.
Turn Off All Distraction – Yes, ALL
Now that you’ve used your mobile phone to wake you up – put it in ‘airplane mode’ and forget about it! Also, log off Facebook (yes, you’ve seen correctly, LOG OFF!) and any other apps or sites that may get you distracted. Stop yourself from procrastinating and focus on your goal! You need that good grade, no matter what!
Plan Out Your Work For Each Hour
Organise your work. Know what you have to do and how you’re going to go about it. This isn’t about being nerdy but when you have only a few hours to write your assignment – and you’re sacrificing a night’s sleep for it – you want to squeeze the most out of each minute. The only way to achieve this is by planning in advance the different steps you need to take and how much time you’re going to spend on each task.
Be Strategic In What You Read and Write
Ideally, we’d read all the key texts on our topic – and we’d also read around the topic. But, you CAN’T do that if you only have a few hours left to do the work.
Make a few points about the questions or issues that you REALLY NEED to find out about and which are the most important sources to refer to. When you start writing, be as clear and concise as possible. This way you also make it much easier for yourself to edit and proofread your work before submitting it.
Stick to the Essay Question, Reference All the Way
When we’re working to a tight deadline and under pressure, it’s easy to lose sight of the topic. My tip is: when you’re reading and writing for your essay, keep referring back to the original essay question.
Also, as good referencing is so important, make a note of the reference and source after each relevant paragraph / sentence. You’ll be amazed how much work and headache this will save you at the end!
Keep Your Water Bottle & Coffee Cup Close
HYDRATE! If you stay properly hydrated it will be much easier to stay awake. And by hydrate, I mean pure, fresh water! Try drinking a glass of water every 30 minutes – even the slightest dehydration can lower your performance and productivity.
Avoid energy drinks as they usually give you a quick boost but their effect soon wears off. Settle for old-fashioned coffee instead – hot or cold, your choice. Careful though, they say too much caffeine can cause dehydration, increased heartbeat and anxiety. You don’t want to end up tensed.
Open the Window, Turn on the Lights
When our energy is running low and we’re getting tired, there’s nothing like a bit of fresh air. Step outside if the weather allows and it’s safe for you to do so at this late hour. In the absence of that, simply keeping a window open can help enormously. As will having a decent desk lamp – working at night, good lighting is your friend and will simulate a sunrise effect that can keep you awake!
Keep Up Your Calorie Intake and Energy Levels
Get snacking!! Eat small portions and eat while you’re working. Avoid sugary or fatty snacks though as they can be worse for your energy and performance levels. Proteins and carbs that take longer to break down will keep you energised for longer. Some of my favourites include nuts and seeds, smoothies, greek yoghurt, hummus dip, sandwiches, and fruit. But of course you could also treat yourself to some pizza – you’re a hardworking person and YOU DESERVE IT!
This Is Your Chance: It’s Now or Never
WORK WORK WORK!! (no, do not be tempted to listen to Rihanna!). It’s ok to take 5 minute breaks every half an hour or so, just make sure they’re not longer – and you use the short time-out to refocus your mind, not to get distracted.
Get Someone to Proofread Your Essay
When writing something last minute, it’s so easy to miss typos and grammar mistakes. Get one of your mates to proof-read your essay before you hand it in. BUT, tell them you’re looking to correct only obvious errors that would be embarrassing to keep in. There’s no point in them suggesting all kinds of changes if you won’t have time to make them.
In the End, It’ll All Be Worth It
Finally, by the time you’re finished and you feel satisfied with your work you will probably look like this.
But fear not! Your bed will be waiting for you to sleep in as long as you desire.
Until your next deadline that is!!
Meet me, Eva!
I am Eva Iacovou, 20 years old and I come from the sunny island of Cyprus. I’m a second year BA Media and Communications undergraduate at the University of Leicester.
I love creativity and art in all its forms. I enjoy meeting new people and learning new things, as I consider knowledge and research to be fundamental aspects of my growth as a person. I wish to learn and experience something new from everything i encounter in my life and, in my own way, make a change.