Syracuse after dark

Students talk strategy when pulling all-nighters

Graphic Illustration by Ankur Patankur | Presentation Director

It’s 2:15 a.m. the night before an exam. You feel semi-prepared for the exam — good, right? Good until your chemistry homework looks you in the face. So now you have a choice to make.

A) “I studied enough. Screw the homework, it’s bed time.”

B) “Bird Library, here I come.”

C) “I’ll just keep working here in my room until I fall asleep on my laptop.”

D) “Where’s my alcohol?”

Being the good student you are, you undoubtedly choose to pull an all-nighter. After all, this is what college students are supposed to do.

So you get to E.S. Bird Library and plop down in a chair. If that chair is on the lowest level of Bird, you’re likely sitting near Alejandro Mercado.

“I usually pull all-nighters twice a week,” said Mercado, a junior neuroscience and psychology dual major. His “countless” all-nighters have always landed him in Bird, mostly to avoid distractions.

“There’s a bed where I can sleep in my room and loud roommates,” he said. “Here I have people studying, so I kind of get in the mood.”

At 4:07 a.m. on Oct. 23, Mercado was one of 11 students on the lowest floor. The seasoned early-morning studier notes that Bird usually starts thinning out around 3 a.m. during weekdays.

The only thing that could make pulling bi-weekly all-nighters more cliche for college students is eating at an absurd hour to stay awake. Mercado typically eats at Kimmel Food Court before it closes at 1 a.m. during the week.

Amanda Canavatchel, a junior psychology and biology dual major, also stressed the importance of food.

“You waste money on food if you’re not at home,” she said. “But I can’t do any work at home, I’ll go right to bed.”

During her 10-hour-plus run working on a paper in Bird on Oct. 22 and 23, Canavatchel drank lots of water to keep her awake.

The strategy is twofold: First, if the water is cold, it will make you less likely to fall asleep. Second, your frequent trips to the bathroom will keep you physically active, if mildly annoyed.

While Bird is great, maybe you’re looking for something a little more close to home. Something with an escape clause in case you want to pass out at 5 a.m. or something with a little bit of distraction so you can procrastinate.

If so, the dorm all-nighter is for you.

Now, there are two ways this can happen. You can stay in your room or you can use your floor’s lounge as your study place.

Meg Stahl, a freshman photography major, pulled her first all-nighter on Oct. 9 following the One World Concert. She decided to follow the lounge route.

“I pulled my all-nighter in the Sadler 2 lounge,” Stahl said. “I usually have more inspiration when I’m not cooped up in my dorm.”

At first, she said, her friends kept her awake and mentally stimulated — even if they were a bit distracting.

But as they started going to bed, Stahl relied more on her pretzels and cold water to keep her awake.

“If I were to do it again, I would definitely eat a larger dinner so that I would have the energy to continue my work,” she said.

By the time she finished her work, Stahl only had an hour and a half until class. While she knew her bed was right down the hallway, she decided going to bed would only make her more tired for an 8 a.m.

For obvious reasons and those mentioned, the dorm room all-nighter is tricky to pull off. A combination of mental toughness, good diet and just enough sporadic Facebook is the only conceivable way not to jump in bed and fall asleep.

An uncomfortable bed would keep you awake, too. But then you would have nothing to look forward to after your all-nighter.


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