The exam and long paper creep closer with faint steps. At first they’re not even in a student’s periphery, but then they’re right behind you, breathing on your neck and whispering the stuff from nightmares like, “You don’t even know what chapter I’m on.”
For all those who pride themselves on being a procrastinator, the all-nighter is the stage to show the world that, “My best work is done at night and takes no longer than eight hours.” Although many of these procrastinators swear their habitual
laziness is inborn, here are some tips to help ward off Mr. Sandman and lift those eyelids:
1. Prepare for the big night. Get your energy flowing during the day by walking around outside or, if you have time, heading to the gym. “It’s always good to work out and then study,” said sophomore elementary education major Colleen Pacenski.
2. Listen to music. Hearing some of your favorite songs will keep studying
from becoming too unbearable. If the thought of working all night starts to seem like an overwhelming task, just think of taking it one CD at a time. Laura Janos, a junior speech and pathology major, stays motivated by doing an activity usually done in the private.
“Singing helps,” she said. “I did a paper from 3 to 12 and I listened to the Fiona Apple CD like 10 times. It just feels like she is pushing me to go on. Plus I am more alert, and it’s fun to sing.” The choice of music is up to you, but this is probably not the time for anything too mellow – like Fiona Apple.
3. Eat something. Snacking is good, but an entire meal is even better. Since you’ll be up an extra eight or more hours than usual, your body will need fuel to keep going. Don’t eat anything fatty though, as that will put you to sleep. Carbohydrates, like rice or a bowl of cereal, will give you energy.
4. Trick yourself into thinking it’s morning. If your roommate doesn’t mind, keep the lights on and whatever you do, don’t lie on your bed. In fact, it might even be better to not study in your room at all. Instead, try studying in Starbucks, located in the TECH Center, which is open 24 hours a day. If the noise bothers you, bring along your iPod. If you do study in your room, try setting an alarm clock to go off every 15 minutes or so – every time it goes off, it’s like a reminder to not procrastinate.
5. Call a friend and have a quick chat – just not about how tired you are. Human
contact, even if it’s only for five minutes, will go a long way in picking you up.
6. Think chilly. You can position a fan to blast cold air on yourself; take a cold shower or splash cold water on your face and neck. The cold air will invigorate you when you’re ready to drop.
7. Move around – take a walk, do jumping
jacks, jog in place. If you have been sitting still for too long, this will make it all too easy to become distracted or even drift off to sleep.
8. Drink coffee, tea or some kind of energy drink. You might want to limit it to four cups of anything with caffeine to avoid a crash the next day. Try alternating caffeinated beverages with cold water. But remember, do everything in moderation.
9. When the sun comes up, reward yourself with good breakfast.
10. Take your exam. Go home. Fall asleep.
Katie Ionata can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.