How to Survive School After Pulling an All-Nighter

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It’s still pretty early in the semester but you’re guaranteed to do this at least once in your university life if not once in this semester alone. The All-Nighter. Sometimes it seems like the most efficient way to get the job done, sometimes you avoid it as much as possible knowing that your future self will not thank you for it. But no matter when, where or for what module, the All-Nighter will happen.

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If you have afternoon class or a free day the next day, it’s no problem. Heck, as long as it’s webcasted or you’re planning to S/U it anyway, you probably don’t need to worry about waking up the next day. Unfortunately, as college students, we tend to make pretty bad life decisions. Like pulling an all-nighter the night before a presentation, or a class where class participation is crucial or a class where the professor doesn’t even give notes and you rely solely on your ears to get down everything that will come out in your exam.

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Whatever it is, you need to look, seem and somehow be alive enough to get through that awful day on a measly couple hours of sleep or even no sleep. Here’s 5 tips on how you can survive a school day after an all-nighter without killing yourself or your CAP.

1. Hydrate Like Mad 

I know this might seem like basic common sense, but I also know that coffee suddenly becomes your new best friend on a day like this. However, coffee, Redbull and other energy drinks that momentarily make you feel even better than you usually do, are probably also going to make sure that you crash halfway through the day. You’re better off with tea because the caffeine release for tea is a lot more gradual and so you won’t feel like curling up in the middle of the corridor to sleep at noon. Lots of water is also important because when you get dehydrated, you feel a lot more tired than you actually are. Chances are, you didn’t guzzle much water while working all night either so drink up!

2. Have Energy Bars or Fruits Handy

While sweets might seem ideal in keeping you awake during your lessons, the empty sugars are not only bad for your waistline, they also wear off pretty fast. On the other hand, fruits and energy bars are the healthier and more long lasting energy sources. Energy bars provide carbohydrates which are exactly what your brain uses (it only uses carbs, not proteins or fats) so if your class needs you to contribute, you might want to consider this. Either way, munching on something is going to keep your brain awake unless you can fall asleep mid-chew (which is possible since I’ve done it before), but it usually works. For the sake of your stamina and health, fruits and energy bars are definitely the better option.

3. Dress Like You’re Awake

You probably feel terrible on the inside but you don’t want to look like how you feel. Especially not to your professor or that cute guy/girl that you’ve been eye candying since week 1. Which is why you need to pick the right clothes. The temptation is to throw on something comfy, baggy, like a black hoodie and your comfiest jeans but your outfit can go a long way in making sure you don’t look like a zombie to that professor who takes your input in class seriously. Basically colour is key, don’t go for neutral tones because they’ll just make you look even paler. Cool toned people should go for jewel tones and those with warm tones should pick earth tones. If you have no clue what that means, it’s totally fine, just pick colours that make you look vibrant and give you the illusion of a healthy, fresh glow. Can do? Ladies, eye catching earrings will also work in your favour.

4. Take Notes Like a Hero

Instinct would be to record the lecture which you probably can do as well. It acts as a good safety net in case you do conk out halfway through lecture. But what are the chances that you’ll actually listen to the recording? You probably think I’m sadistic and insane but what you can try to do is take notes word for word or as close to it as possible. You may not absorb anything, but at least now you have something to refer to while studying for the exam. By trying to get down literally everything that is said, you force your brain to stay awake and you don’t even need to process anything. Just write down everything from “This is week 9” to “And so I actually think that high pitched sound wasn’t aliens, just the angle I was holding the mic at”. Everything. Your brain is occupied without having to work too hard and you sort of force yourself to plow through another lesson.

5. Don’t Nap

When your professor gives you a ten minute break, you will probably really want to put your head down and make good use of those minutes. But chances are, you aren’t going to wake up when those ten minutes are up. If you do, you’re probably going to be groggy, unfocused and useless in the second half of the lesson. Instead, play a game on your phone, something that wakes you up or gets your adrenaline pumping. It’ll give your brain a break while allowing you to wake up even more so that you’ll be alert in the next half of the lesson.

Of course, the effectiveness of these methods may vary but they help even if it’s to a small extent. If you have other tips, feel free to share them with us! I would really tell you to avoid all-nighters but who am I kidding? They’re inevitable. So good luck and may the bell curve be in your favour.


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