Why I Refuse to Pull an All-Nighter in College

No matter how much homework I have, or how difficult the test I have the next day is going to be, I literally refuse to stay up late getting my sh*t together. When my friends tell me that they stayed up till 1 or 3 in the morning doing school work, I always look at them like they’re speaking a completely different language—it could never be me.

My brain shuts off around 9 pm every night. Meaning that, if I’m up doing anything school related past that time, whether studying or finishing up an assignment, not only am I not comprehending the words on the screen or on the pages but whatever I might be writing is not going to make sense. I give myself a ‘homework window’—which is between the time I arrive on campus, till about 8:45pm-9pm. During that window, I try and study as much and as hard as I can, and finish all the assignments that are due within the next 48 hours. If I don’t get it done during that window, oh well. Literally. Oh well. It's just not getting done.

Certain exceptions, like assignments due at midnight that I may or may not have started in a timely fashion, may keep me up past 9, inching a little closer to 10 or 10:30. But as for studying for a test or quiz the next day; forget it. I sort of operate on the premise that I either know it by now, or I don’t, and staying up till I feel like I am going to pass out is not going to increase my chance of doing better.

I understand that everyone’s schedule is different; there is seldom time to study throughout the day if you have classes back to back, work, or any other obligations. I am fortunate enough to work in the school library, so doing homework and studying on the job is just another way to make the time go by faster. Plus, the setting sort of forces you to be studious. 

Nevertheless, I personally think all-nighters are pointless. Not because your homework or studying is necessarily pointless, but because your body needs time to rest. You need time to lay down and just do nothing. Being in college, there never is time to just be. Typically, if you’re resting at 9 pm on a Wednesday evening, you probably forget about 6 assignments. Unfortunately, this is just how college works. You always have something to do. However, for me, if it involves staying up past 9, staring at the pages of a book or a computer screen, I’ll take the slightly lowered grade as opposed to baggy eyes and the feeling of intense sleep deprivation in lecture the next morning.