Finals are coming. I don’t know how, and I don’t know where the time went, but they’re almost here. The libraries will begin to fill, the vending machines will begin to run out of the good snacks and, more importantly, Diet Coke, and you will begin to stress out. Now, everybody knows that moderation is the key to success. However, there isn’t always (read: never) enough time for moderation. I am in no way encouraging staying up for 20+ hours and making yourself sick over finals. Grades are grades, and they do not equate happiness. But, if it means boosting your grade, finishing a project you really care about, or catching up on a paper that you might not have started until 12 hours before the due date, staying up all night isn’t out of the question. So, in order to keep all you Collegiettes healthy and ready for summer, here are some tips on how to successfully pull an all-nighter.
What to Bring:
- A Sweatshirt
- A Water Bottle
- Chargers of all kinds
- Pens, paper, notebooks, textbooks, whatever you need to actually study
- Your own snacks (see #5)
- Gum or mints (nobody likes coffee breath)
1. Dress Comfortably
Dress well, test well definitely has its perks. For some people. Me? I can’t imagine sitting at a desk for more than an hour wearing jeans and a cute top. Save it for the night after finals are over. Pull out your sweatpants, T-shirts, gym shorts, and hair ties, and grunge it out. Honestly? Nobody is paying attention to anything other than their own work during finals, so why does it matter what you look like! Being able to sit comfortably for more than two hours is going to be key for making it into the wee hours of the morning, and I can guarantee at 2 AM, you’re going to wish you left your flats and skirt at home.
2. Don’t Just Sit There
The longer you sit without taking even a five minute break, the more likely you are to say ‘forget it!’ and head home to watch a movie. Every hour and a half to two hours, get up and walk to the bathroom, go outside for some fresh air, get dinner, anything! Moving around every once and a while will make you less likely to get antsy, and might even trick you into thinking you haven’t been staring at your computer screen for as long as you have.
3. Alternate Between Caffeine and Water
Ideally, I’d say don’t drink caffeine. But those aren’t words I live by, so I’m not about to preach. That being said, make sure you stay hydrated! Caffeine is a great quick fix, but it won’t last. In fact, you’ll actually be more tired from the caffeine crash than you would be if you were drinking water at the same time. A hydrated mind is a clear mind. To be safe, for every caffeinated beverage you drink, have at least two glasses/bottles of water. And don’t drink too much too fast, otherwise you’ll spend more time peeing than studying.
4. Don’t Sit on the Computer the Whole Time
Our computer screens are terrible for our eyes. Too much screen time can lead to headaches, blurry vision, and eye strain. If you can, alternate between written work and online work to keep screen exposure low. If you can’t, turn down the brightness of your screen and get up to take a break a little more frequently than you might otherwise. Besides, The Wall Street Journal says that writing things down engages the mind and the memory more than typing, so less time at the computer might help you test better anyway!
5. Eat This, Not That
Food is incredibly important when you’re studying in general, but especially for an all-nighter. Try and eat foods with protein in them, to give you energy and keep you going. Also, try and steer clear of the vending machines. I know how tempting Cheez-Its and Snickers Bars can be, but they probably won’t benefit you much in the long run. Opt for nuts, fruit, and protein bars for snacks, and more balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
6. Switch it Up
This only applies for some situations, but you can definitely try it out no matter what you’re working on. Alternating between subjects or assignments will prevent you from getting frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed. Try and set goals for finishing a section of whatever you’re working on, and then move onto something else. Or, reward yourself after you accomplish that goal! Completing a chapter’s worth of notes definitely warrants an episode of your favorite TV show, or a quick phone call to a friend. Another way to change the pace should be switching study spaces. A change in environment never hurt anyone, and it could help you get a fresh start if you’re starting to work on something new.
7. Don’t Get (Too) Distracted
Staying away from your phone, Facebook, Twitter, and anything else will make the time pass faster, and keep you more productive. Check them every half hour or so, or completely turn them off if you’re feeling daring. The Self Control App (available to download here) can block whatever distracting websites you want by adding them to your restricted list.
8. Stay Motivated
Remember, if you’re willing to commit to an all-nighter, it’s most likely going to be worth the end result. Remind yourself how much you’re getting done, how close you are to it all being over, and how well you’re doing. Getting trapped in the “I-shouldn’t-have-saved this-for-the-last-minute” mentality is not going to help you get your work done. It will probably just distract you even more.
And remember, there’s no shame in calling it quits and getting some rest! Good luck, Collegiettes, summer is right around the corner.
http://online. wsj. om/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518. html