It seems inevitable – every time I come back to school from a break an all-nighter isn’t far behind. I’ve got a paper and a half to write tonight and a news article to conduct interviews for and write tomorrow afternoon, so that means that tonight is going to be a late one. On the one hand I have to focus, but I also have to keep myself from either falling asleep or going nuts and standing on my head in the hallway, so I’ve developed a few strategies for my late night battles:
1. Get free food. Our school clears out the perishable items from the Commons at 11:00 every night and the cafeteria workers roll them out on a cart and offer them to students for free. While this is a great concept, the execution can get a little dicey – basically, everyone just gathers around the door like a swarm of parasprites and waits for the cart to come out, at which point we spend approximately sixty five seconds throwing our elbows around and filling our arms with food and then disperse suddenly like nothing happened. If you get into the fray early on a good night you can get some great stuff, like a warm grilled chicken sandwich or a ceasar salad. Sometimes all you get is a cookie or a slice of cold pizza. Either way, it’s a fun diversion from schoolwork and the food gives me much needed energy for the long night ahead. A whole new conundrum arises when you get a salad with no dressing, though… I mean, what are you supposed to do with that?
2. Music. That pretty much explains itself. Peppy, upbeat, cheerful, music, as long as it’s not so loud as to be headache-inducing, is a great way to keep the mind lurching ahead in the wee hours of the morning when it’s ready to stall out.
3. Well-timed Internet breaks. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All typing and listening to music with no breaks makes Tim fall asleep and/or type sentences that are a lot forget where he’s going sometimes leaves out a verb change tense rambling because he’s not thinking about the words that sentences that are a lot like this one. So, every once in a while, when my mind starts to wander, I queue up a quick video on YouTube or do two or three stumbles on StumbleUpon to break up the monotony.
4. Well-timed pacing the hall breaks. Even when I take a video break, I’m still in a dark room staring at a screen. My eyes need light and my legs need motion, so whenever I need to get my mind out of a rut or my eyes start burning, I spend a few minutes wandering the halls of the dorm and letting my mind rest.
I’ll probably be doing all four of those in varying amounts tonight, but the most important thing I need to get done is this homework… that and figuring out how to eat my dressingless salad. I’d better be on my way if I want to finish both in time to fit in a few hours of shuteye, so I bid you adieu. Get some sleep, and have sweet dreams! Now where did I leave my fork…