By Sam Coren
Procrastination can be a way of life for some college students. After all, there are tons of distractions around campus and in your dorm: late night water gun fights, impromptu parties, video game marathons, pick up games of Ultimate Frisbee, getting to know your new best friends… Every now and then students will leave that one “worth half your grade” term paper on the back burner because too much fun gets in the way.
So what do you do when you wake up realizing you haven’t even typed a single word of your 15 page minimum report that’s due first thing tomorrow? You commit to one of the most coveted rights of passage of any tried and true college student: you pull an all-nighter.
1. Turn off your cell phone and keep it out of sight.
That’s right crackberry and iPhone addicts. Now is not the time to franticly return all those texts from last night. Do you really need to be checking into Foursquare every half hour to claim back your dining hall mayorship? Your GPA is on the line and your phone is your number one enemy against productivity! Turn it off, put it in a drawer, and don’t even think about touching it until after you’ve printed your final page.
2. Avoid doing work in your room if possible.
This is crucial if you have in-room roommates. Chances are if they’re trying to sleep they’re not going to want to deal with you hunched over your desk hammering away at your keyboard. Or if they’re late night socialites they’re not going to be doing you any favors by bringing their noisy entourage back to the room at 2 AM. Not only that but your room is probably full of the same distractions that put you in this situation in the first place. If your school has 24 hour access libraries or study rooms now is the time to take advantage.
3. Don’t use social network sites and instant messaging programs.
We get that you’re attached to Facebook and Twitter at the hip. But now is not a good time to update your status or sign onto Skype for a vid chat with Mom. Tweeting every half hour about how much you have left to do is not going to magically make the pain (or the homework) go away. Some students even go as far as temporarily blocking certain websites from their browsers because they know how hopeless they are. If your work doesn’t require the Internet for research it might be a good idea to disable your wireless and unplug that ethernet cord.
4. Stay awake by cranking some tunes.
Listening to some heart thumping music through headphones is a nice way to stay awake without going bonkers on caffeine and energy drinks. However, it’s important to make sure that you don’t waste time by playing DJ with iTunes or looking up song lyrics. You’re better off sticking to to full albums you don’t usually skip songs on or utilizing a streaming music service like Pandora or Mixcloud so you’re not tempted to mess around with song selections. You might even want to avoid listening to anything with vocals so it’s easier to concentrate on researching and writing.
5. Cramming for an exam? Take a nap.
There are countless studies which indicate that lack of REM sleep hinders your memory. If you’re not 100% clueless on the subject matter of your test you’re better off trying to get some sleep than doing the full all-nighter. However, if you haven’t cracked a book all semester you’re probably better off powering through the night.
Have you pulled off a successful all nighter before? How’d you do it? Share your study tips in the comments.
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