Pulling an All-Nighter

by Roy Lee | 11/19/98 6:00am

Doing an all-nighter is like running a marathon. Up until midnight, you hardly feel the drowsiness and can shrug off that annoying urge to sleep. When you manage to stay awake till three in the morning, you begin to feel it a bit more and find yourself nodding off to sleep. If you are truly fit (or desperate), you last through the morning and are greeted by sunrise and the birds chirping. Of course, if you are stuck in the basement of Kiewit like me, you hardly notice that it is another day. But your long journey through the night is not over.

Congratulating yourself for finishing your paper/project, you treat yourself to breakfast at the Hop (if you really feel good about yourself, you'd go to Lou's). With your stomach full, drowsiness creeps in, and you find yourself blinking more. Then you decide to take a warm, long shower. Of course it is hard to fall asleep in the shower, but there are those who can. Here comes the most trying moment. You come back from the shower, feeling warm and toasty, and you sit on the bed. The bed feels so good and nice that you think there's no harm in just lying down for a second. Then a second turns into minutes and into hours, and before you know it, you've missed your classes and deadlines and find that you've stayed up all night in vain.

All-nighters suck the life out of you, and most students, even the most determined and grade-hungry, find themselves unable to do more than three all-nighters consecutively. Most people who participate in this activity tend to procrastinate and cram. But you can find at least one or two everyday at Kiewit.

Some of my fondest memories of Dartmouth are of staying up all night, finishing up papers or studying for exams. I usually do all-nighters in Kiewit, usually accompanied by other students. There is a strange camaraderie among these students. They all are sympathetic with one another and understand what each other are going through. Conversation is not too lively, because most are stressed and frustrated.

Random acts of kindness occur in Kiewit during late nights. While I was typing away, one of the students, who had apparently finished early, announced to everybody that she was done and she offered her cookies and chips to us. Another time, few students hustled all of us outside Kiewit at dawn to see a comet. Everybody awed and oohed and enjoyed a brief moment of camaraderie.

For some, all-nighters are a kind of lifestyle. There are those who go to sleep right after their classes are over and wake up when it's dark. Then they trek over to Kiewit and start their papers or projects. For some, it is as common as shaving in the morning, and these people become nocturnal creatures. Some, I'm pretty sure, get a strange sense of gratification as they walk down deserted streets of Hanover, whistling the tune "Twilight Time" while enjoying the peace. For many, whenever they are tired, they step outside and look at the stars and make a wish to whoever is up there. Most wishes are pleas for a few hours of sleep.