Tips for productive, successful all-nighter

By Hayley Devitt

For some, staying up all night to do homework is unheard of. I used to think that, but only until I took on four studio art classes at NIU.

Art students are a special breed of human. Although people of all majors have been known to stay up all night writing papers and studying, I haven’t heard any other NIU students speak of all-nighters as something required in order to finish art projects. Naturally, I asked students at Jack Arends Hall what they do to cope with all-nighters.

“You have a party,” said sophomore illustration major Emily Rux. What she meant is what sophomore illustration major Molly Milligan, recommended: “Do it with other people. Drink caffeine. Eat food.”

We all know that late at night, calories mean nothing. At the Art Building, I know I always need something to munch on when I’m in it for the long haul. In addition to the obvious end of fending off hunger, I think feeding your face helps because you have something enjoyable to do while concentrating on work.

“Starbucks, Jimmy John’s and Pandora: those are my three keys to staying up,” said Kelsey Jacobsen, senior visual communications major.

Music is a real godsend when it comes to buckling down and taking care of business. It’s easier for me to stay positive with The Best of Erasure coming from my laptop.

“Me, personally, I keep Casino Royale the movie playing over and over again,” said Matt Matayka, senior time arts major.

However, for some such as Aleesha Sramek, senior visual communications major, it is the “fear of the consequences” that keeps art students going.

In some classes, turning in late assignments is not an option. Even when it is, there will always be more and more work piling on, making it near impossible to get caught up if you should fall behind.

As for the “party,” I agree that having another living soul with you for an all-nighter can keep you from losing your mind and from calling it quits. The stress can be overwhelming, but at least you won’t be alone.

I also think it is good to step back a couple times and take quick breaks from what you’re doing, but only at appropriate times for them. For example, once you’ve gotten past a certain benchmark in your assignment, it’s a good idea to get up and stretch.

Depending on what you’re doing, there is the option of setting a time frame of what you want to get done and when, but don’t kill yourself trying to stick to a schedule. When bathroom and cigarette breaks need to happen, let them.

Most importantly, stay hydrated —you need lots of water to go with all that caffeine.

Hopefully these all-nighter survival hints can be applied to all disciplines of study. If you find yourself in a homework bind, and it looks like staying up is the only option, never fear. You can get through it. I know because I do it all the time.