OPINION: A college girl’s guide to pulling an all-nighter


Wren Johnson

Illustration depicting Danielle Wagner’s column on pulling an all-nighter.

If you haven’t had to pull an all-nighter yet in college, congratulations, you’re lucky. For the rest of us, finals week is right around the corner so it’s time to make your coffee and hate yourself in the morning.

Let’s set the scene, it’s 10:30 p.m. and you have 30 more pages to write for your final paper that’s due at the beginning of class tomorrow. There’s only one option, and you’re probably not going to like it.

So whether this is your first all-nighter or you’re a procrastination pro, there are ways to make it easier.

The first thing you need to do is to prepare your study space. Gather everything you’re going to need and find a secluded place to get your work done.

*pro tip – bright lights and a cold room keep you awake

Avoid using your phone. I know every single one of you is going to open TikTok or Instagram so just avoid it all together. If you need to, use a web blocker on your computer to stop you from getting distracted. link a web blocker you like

One thing I like to do is to queue ten songs and when those are over take a small break. You should also set alarms to avoid dozing off. Make it the most obnoxious sound possible.

Doing work in chunks is going to be your savior. I don’t know about you, but personally I could not write 30 pages straight or study 5 chapters without going crazy.. So don’t be afraid to take breaks.

Eat something before you start, you’ll be less likely to need to stop for food. Also stay hydrated, keep a water bottle with you the whole night and keep sipping. Bathroom breaks are better than having a headache.

* pro tip – chew peppermint gum, it stimulates your brain

It’s inevitable that you’re going to have to drink caffeine, unless you’re magic in which case, share with the rest of us.

300 milligrams of caffeine is about what you’re gonna need, but that’s obviously not an exact science. I personally suggest coffee with espresso, triple shot, but it’s up to you.

Make sure you’re caffeinating regularly. One cup is not going to cut it, you’re going to have to keep filling your tank.

Don’t stay in one spot the whole study session. Get up and move around or work standing up, get your blood moving.

* pro tip – do some jumping jacks or something

Trick your brain into getting excited, bribe yourself. For instance, after every full page or memorized fact, eat a snack. I recommend M&Ms or Hot Cheetos.

Remember, you’re not going to get the sleep you need to, so power naps for the win. Even if it’s just 30 minutes before you have to go to class, you’re going to need it.

Make sure that you set an alarm or two or twelve. If you sleep through class, that night was wasted for nothing.

Happy studying, and go ace that test.