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The Ten Stages of An All-Nighter

At some point in college, we all procrastinate to the point of needing to pull an all-nighter to get our work done. Whether these are a weekly occurrence or few and far between, here’s what to expect on those dreaded nights.

Stage One: The Realization.

After a shambly but fun weekend, you finally drag yourself out of bed and give your agenda a flip through to see what you have coming up this week…aaaand you have three tests, two papers, and one oral exam all due in less than 24 hours. Perfect. There’s only one way to get this amount of work done, and it makes you cringe: an all-nighter.

Stage Two: Preparation.

After kicking yourself a little for procrastinating, you make a to-do list of all the work you have to do. After crying a little because of how much work it is, you steel yourself and gather all your belongings (textbooks, notebooks, laptop, pillow, fuzzy socks, tissues and a blanket) to bring to the library. 

Stage Three: The Trek.

You say a tearful goodbye to your bed for the next ten to twelve hours and start the walk to the library to find a good seat. You don’t want to be overly dramatic, but it’s pretty akin to a suspect’s last walk as a free man. 

Stage Four: Staging.

You manage to find a comfy seat by the window and set up all your stuff: plug your laptop in, get your headphones out, decide what Spotify playlist is appropriate for your misfortune and get out your books.

Stage Five: Procrastination.

You stare at your blinking cursor for what seems like a decade (but is in actuality about five minutes) and decide you deserve a break. You get a macchiato from Starbucks and spend the next half hour stalking the cute guy you met last night’s Instagram, and only after finding his sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s pictures from Paris in 2012 do you realize that you a) probably need help and b) should REALLY get started.

Stage Six: The Grind.

You chug your coffee, take a picture of all the work you have to do for Snapchat, and spend the next three hours plowing through those papers (with limited Twitter breaks, of course).

Stage Seven: The Lag.

You check your watch after finishing one of the papers and realize not only how late it is, but how much work is yet to be done. It’s overwhelming, so you shed one single tear, get more coffee and wake yourself up by putting “Formation” on repeat because Beyoncé told that she dreams it and works hard and grinds till she owns it and dammit so will you.

Stage Eight: The Home Stretch.

You manage to check off almost everything on your to-do list, and get started on the one thing standing between you and your bed. You take a minute to stare sympathetically at the guy downing espressos like water and frantically flipping through his notes. You may be in a tight spot, but at least you have it better than he does.

Stage Nine: The Finale.

With a final stroke of your keyboard, you have finished the last thing on your to-do list just as people are starting to stagger to their 8 a.m. classes. You gather your things and make a beeline out of the library and head straight for your bed.

Stage Ten: The Long Rest.

You finally flop down on your bed, which has never felt softer. You’re about to drift off to sleep, but then your alarm rings for class. You contemplate if higher education is REALLY worth it, but drag yourself out of bed to try and cover up those dark circles.



Emily is a part-time coffee addict and a full-time English and Public Relations student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She enjoys all things punny, intersectional feminism, Chrissy Teigen's tweets and considers herself a bagel & schmear connoisseur. You can probably find her either listening to the Hamilton soundtrack or binge watching The Office for the thousandth time
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