22 March 2011


Ah yes, the all-nighter. I am quite certain that everyone who has ever been a student is familiar with this concept. All-nighters tend to happen when the person has procrastinated to the point where the person in question has deluded him or herself into thinking that he or she possess superhuman abilities, and therefore will be able to finish an assignment before the deadline despite not having made any progress on that project thus far.

To clarify, by “all-nighter,” I mean a legitimate all-nighter. As in no sleep for the entire night. I’m not talking when people complain to me saying, “Yeah, I pulled an all-nighter last night. I went to bed at like 2.” That is not an all-nighter. That is going to bed slightly later than normal. Actually, for me, that is a pretty decent hour to sleep.

I have never pulled an all-nighter on purpose.

Sure, I procrastinate. I enjoy putting off work like any other normal person. But it has never gotten to the point where I absolutely have to stay up for an entire night to complete an assignment on time. I don’t think my neurotic tendencies would tolerate that sort of pressure.

I pull all-nighters for absolutely no reason. They just sort of happen. I’ll lie in bed, thinking (as I am wont to do), when suddenly an idea will pop into my head that I will absolutely have to carry out. Sometimes it’s a compulsion to paint my nails. Sometimes I’ll really need to pee. But, more often than not, it will be an urge to write.

If the first thought that pops into my head is something mundane, I’ll do it, then race back to the warmth of my bed to think some more. Then I’ll decide that, since I’m up, I should probably do something productive (as if painting my nails isn’t productive enough).

At that point, I’ll reach over to my laptop and open it, blinding myself temporarily with the stark whiteness of a blank word document. Maybe I’ll have a topic in mind. But, to be honest, I probably won’t. So I’ll stare for a while, maybe type a few odd phrases. If this is a good night, I’ll be overcome with inspiration and write for hours. However, good nights are rare, so I’ll most likely be overwhelmed and will decide to take a break for a couple of minutes. I deserve it. I’ve worked hard. I’ll look for blogs to read or TV shows to watch. Or, I’ll google a topic about which I know very little, and somehow get sucked into Wikipedia, clicking links until I have no recollection of how my starting point of Wassily Kandinsky connected to my end point of Gossip Girl.

Minutes turn into hours and before I know it I’ve wasted perfectly good sleep time doing nothing. I suppose I could go to sleep at this point, but I’ve got class in a few hours and I know that if I sleep now, I could run the risk of oversleeping. Instead, I spend some more time exploring the internet, maybe typing a little bit intermittently so I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

It takes a special type of person to lie awake in bed all night without caffeine and no reason to be awake.

I think they’re called insomniacs.


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