You can tell when the season has come. The number of people in your morning class with coffee in hand has doubled, if not tripled. Eyes are red, with darker and darker circles underneath. Everyone is wearing sweatpants and pajamas to classes and no one even cares. Yes, it’s easy to tell when Dead Week is upon us and finals approach more quickly than anyone would like to acknowledge. In fact, this past Dead Week, I had to pull an almost-all-nighter to write a paper and stayed up later than I have ever previously had to while doing homework. So I figured I’d let the innocent young freshman know what an almost-all-nighter is like, so you too can experience this sometime in your college life.
9:45 Return from the choir concert, after staying at the after-party with refreshments and mingling for as long as I could convince myself to
10:00 Call my parents to ask them about the concert (they watched it on the college’s web stream)
11:00 End up talking to parents for waaaayy longer than I anticipated (the fault of both parties) and finally hang up
11:15 Set up my desk space with books, notes, computer, food and tissues all at hand
11:17 Make a cup of tea to soothe my sore throat and provide some caffeine
11:20 Check my email and decide to do my professor evaluations because I can get extra credit and then I don’t have to start my paper yet
11:45 Check the blog of the Supreme Court to see if they’ve issued an opinion yet for the case we had to write on for my Con Law Final
11:50 Finally actually start on the paper, but not the actual writing part, just the looking up sources part
11:55 Worry that I’m waking up my roommate with my incredibly squeaky desk chair
1:20 Take a break from all of my hard source-finding and look up how badly I can do on my test tomorrow in order to still get an A in the class
1:55 Go back to skimming some long and boring sources for the information I actually need
2:30 Actually create a document for my paper and give it a title, despite the fact that I don’t have a real thesis yet
2:50 Google how to stay awake better/how to pull an all-nighter/how much caffeine is in the tea I’m currently drinking and get inspiration for how I’m going to survive the rest of the night
3:10 Research tons more sources while periodically eating peanut butter crackers because I have no other substantial food
4:10 After an hour of hard work, reward myself with a Facebook break (not much happening at this time unfortunately)
4:30 Get frustrated with the sources that I’ve found currently and started working into my outline and decide to search for completely new sources
4:40 Get distracted by cool things on C of I’s webpage
4:45 Back to research. I have to focus!!
5:00 Decide to just run with the sources I have and actually start writing the paper
5:30 I have 3 pages! Out of the required 6-8, this is progress. Well, one of them is the title page. But still. I’m way farther than I was an hour ago.
5:50 I need just a little more research and then I can get back to writing
6:00 My tea is long cold, but I still keep drinking it, cringing every time. I’m writing like a madwoman, just determined to finish.
6:30 I finally finish my paper. I read through it again barely absorbing anything. Oh well, I can review it “in the morning” after I wake up. I reflect that this is probably one of the worst papers I’ve ever written
6:45 Finally fall into bed, exhausted, only to realize I’m not tired enough to fall asleep immediately.
6:47 Try not to think of the fact that I have to get up in an hour and a half
6:50 Lay awake thinking of really weird things such as how I feel all shaky even though I’m lying down and I swear I can see my wall even though my eyes are closed.
7:00 Sleep! At last!
(Note that this is corroborated from my internet history and so is painfully accurate)