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Dumb Question about "pulling an all-nighter."


Ginevra
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DD is finishing out freshman year at St. Mary's. She is a very good student and works hard to do excellent work. She sent me a photo (selfie) of her extremely bleary looking face and said that she pulled a literal all-nighter, but finished her French final project with 30 minutes to spare.

 

Side bar background: I did not do traditional college; I only attended CC as an adult. Of course, I am well familiar with the concept of cramming/studying/doing a final project literally all night long. I've heard of it, but I don't really understand why this would ever be necessary unless you are in training as a Navy SEAL or a resident OB/GYN. (That's hyperbole - sorta.)

 

So, what's the story with all-nighters? Is it sort of just a badge of the college experience that you do, necessary or not, like a rite of passage? Like moms who trade stories about marathon nursers or laboring for 29 hours? Is it really just such a lot of work that a typical student is probably going to have to pull an all-nighter from time to time? (I've read so many studies about how cognitive ability decreases with sleep deprivation, it seems like it would be more effective to get sufficient sleep and pour your fresh brain into an exam.)

 

Also, one final tangent: do you pull all-nighters as an adult? (If you are in certain professions, I don't mean you.) I mean, like...I don't know...all-nighter sewing a costume for drama team or whatever? All nighter watching your on-line investments because Apple introduced a new iPhone?

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It really depends on the student and the college. Mine were all procrastination and bad decision based honestly. Oldest dd goes to a college where she literally just has that much work to do (they are ranked top 5 for College Where Students Work the Hardest, I think.) She takes 20+ credits a semester. She also chooses to be involved in activities; without those, she might not have to work through the night.

 

I do have to pull some as an adult. There are events I plan where I just won't have enough details to finish the planning until it is down to the last minute, and I'm really the only one who can do the work. Usually it also involves other people not holding up their end of a schedule, though. :( Usually I try to get at least 3-4 hours, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I always end up sick after, but by then it's after and I can sleep it off, so I don't care. :D

 

With caffeine, I don't have diminishing returns until the next evening (when I become useless) so in college it was fine for early morning exams or papers due. It's not always a great idea for an exam, because taking it exhausted might negate the night of studying.

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I never did an all-nighter before a test. It was always to finish a paper or project. I wouldn't recommend it, but if done rarely when you otherwise get enough sleep, it can be a way to accomplish a lot. More fun if others are staying up with you. The physics lab was a popular spot among my friends. The stools were uncomfortable enough that you wouldn't fall asleep. ;)

 

I have stayed up all night occasionally as an adult, usually to prepare for a trip. Added bonus that I could sleep on the plane (flying makes me very nervous).

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Yes, procrastination :)

 

I don't know how common actual all-nighters are.  Many students might stay up very late during exam week but still grab a few hours of sleep.

 

FWIW, I was a slacker and yet I only pulled one actual all-nighter in seven years of college and grad school, end of sophomore year, for my (calc-based) stats final.  There was a lot of diet coke involved and I still remember the sunrise that morning.  I had to make up for not doing enough of the homework after working off-campus 30 hrs per week that semester.  It worked and I aced the final, but I never did it again.

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Ds is a night owl and a procrastinator. He has had several all-nighters this semester because he'd rather be up all night and he underestimated how much time to allot for a subject. I've had some late nights this year as well, not quite all night because I'm old. Sometimes it's just work load, so many things due all in one week and parts of the assignments can't be started ahead because you haven't covered the material or you were busy. 

 

Ds tends to love tangents, so he may start studying for a test then end up researching a related topic which leads to another topic. Part of it is how he processes and remembers information best, the other part is the "pro"  of procrastination. 

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I remember doing then often in college (and I was a mom then). It wasn't about deadlines for me, it was about getting completely inspired and being unable to stop working. And then once it's about 3am you might as well keep on going. 24 hour computer labs were the perfect place to do such things.

 

For me, procrastination always meant working until about 9-10pm the night before an assignment was due and feeling totally overwhelmed and having writers block. Then knowing if I went to sleep and woke up at 4am I would have worked it all out in my sleep and could just bang it out in the few hours before class -- worked every time thankfully.

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I had pulled all nighters in college for group computer programming projects because I did the compiling of all modules into one program so I actually start in the late afternoon when my team mates start finishing their portions.

 

I had pulled all nighters for work because that was the nature of my job.

 

As a parent, I had pulled all nighter when a child has a fever. As a sister, I had stayed up when my brother was sick. I am an insomniac and a light sleeper so it makes more sense for me to be the one pulling the all nighter.

 

I had also pulled many all nighters during school camps in middle and high school because of "guard duty". I won't have been able to sleep anyway.

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For us, it tends to be about a driven student with high standards.  The desire for the work to be PERFECT, plus a looming deadline, means the student will do whatever's necessary to meet their standards, even if it means staying up all night.  

It's also about a student who is driven to pack a lot into their life, being involved in (and juggling) multiple classes, responsibilities, and activities.  Sometimes, with multiple things on the schedule that are outside the student's control (short of not participating in as much), things conflict, leaving very full days and evenings, and the wee hours are the only time to get things done.

 

It's not ideal, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have a student who cares enough to make the effort to work right up to the deadline, than one who will go to bed rather than stay up, happy with less-than-ideal work.  

(There is also a time to declare that a project is good enough as-is.  Experience with making these decisions is all part of learning time management.)

There is an art to the all-nighter.  One must prepare with any materials needed (poster paper, ink in the printer, caffeine), because even if the stores are still open there's no time to shop.  The imminent deadline means the student has to make quick decisions about what is essential to do  and what can be left undone.  The work must be carefully sequenced to maximize use of the time - something that can be done on the bus should be put off in favor of something that must be done at home.

The skills learned can be called upon in any number of crisis situations, personal and professional.  The "Make It Work" attitude can come into play over and over again in the tight moments in life.  The ability to clearly see what's important and get on with it, while you put aside the rest, is useful in so many ways.  
 

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I pulled only two all-nighters while in college. The first was when we were headed to London for spring break. The second was completely by accident. I was studying for a final in an African history class with then new boyfriend who also was in the class. (Oh, college days...) We were at the Waffle House, the only 24 hour restaurant in the town. I didn't realize he'd meant "study all night" until it was 3 a.m. 

 

I was a procrastinator, had a full workload, worked 40 hours a week, and was a night person. So, this combination resulted in a lot of late nights. But I aimed for 3 hours of sleep (the full sleep cycle), which worked OK as a 20 year old.

 

I've definitely pulled some long nights as an adult/parent. That's exactly because of the above considerations (full work load, procrastinating...). Again, I find getting a minimal amount of sleep makes me human enough to get to 6 p.m. the next day, when I crash with the little kids.

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I pulled a few all-nighters in college, and I've pulled a couple as an adult, although I pay for them more now than I did in college.  Procrastination plays a role, yes, but some people just really need a sense of pressure to get stuff done.  Typically, I would have a paper or project planned in my head, and then I just needed that sense of urgency to put it all on paper.  There's just something about a quickly-approaching deadline and nothing else calling my name that really helps me focus.  (I'm also an extremely natural night owl too, so that helps.)

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I was a nontraditional college student, going to school at night and working during the day, so it isn't the same, but I pulled a lot of all-nighters.  It wasn't procrastination; it was too much to do and not enough time.  Though I do remember some nights of almost finishing a paper and deciding at midnight that it was all wrong, and starting over. 

 

Also, aside from being a student, I sometimes worked all night or nearly so to get a project done or to do end-of-fiscal-year stuff.  When I was single, at Christmas time I would pull an all-nighter baking and making candy for coworkers and such.  Fond memories of the year a neighbor came home at midnight, saw my lights on, and came over with a bottle of something to share. We are still friends, 30 years on.  :-) 

 

My daughter has pulled one near-all-nighter for her dual enrollment composition class.  Again, in that case it wasn't due to procrastination but not having enough time between her part-time job and other schoolwork to get the paper done.

 

I'm sure that procrastination often plays a role but I wouldn't say that is always the cause.

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I had 5.

One was procrastination--I had a paper due and put it off til the last minute.  A friend offered to type it for me until I stopped being able to write faster than she could type, and I kept putting pages in front of her for hours.  It was 20 typed pages at the end--basically she typed my first draft, and I got an A on it.  I am not completely sure that that was an all nighter--maybe I got 2 hours of sleep or something equally ridiculous.

 

The other 4 were the structure of the classes.  They were senior unit ops classes in the chemical engineering department.  The way they were set up, you didn't get the data itself to formulate your report with until it was too late to do anything but pull an all nighter to be able to finish it.  If it wasn't for a friend with a Selectric typewriter, I never would have gotten any of those in on time, despite the all nighter format.  It was an insane and impossible schedule.

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I never did an all nighter through grad school. I need a lot of sleep and simply don't function well if I stay up late, and just cannot stay up all night.

I'd rather get up really early in the morning to work.

 

From what I hear from DD, she sometimes work through most of the night and gets just a very small amount of sleep. She does not procrastinate and is very organized, but her school is famous for its insane work load.

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For us, it tends to be about a driven student with high standards. The desire for the work to be PERFECT, plus a looming deadline, means the student will do whatever's necessary to meet their standards, even if it means staying up all night.

It's also about a student who is driven to pack a lot into their life, being involved in (and juggling) multiple classes, responsibilities, and activities. Sometimes, with multiple things on the schedule that are outside the student's control (short of not participating in as much), things conflict, leaving very full days and evenings, and the wee hours are the only time to get things done.

 

It's not ideal, but when push comes to shove, I'd rather have a student who cares enough to make the effort to work right up to the deadline, than one who will go to bed rather than stay up, happy with less-than-ideal work.

 

(There is also a time to declare that a project is good enough as-is. Experience with making these decisions is all part of learning time management.)

 

There is an art to the all-nighter. One must prepare with any materials needed (poster paper, ink in the printer, caffeine), because even if the stores are still open there's no time to shop. The imminent deadline means the student has to make quick decisions about what is essential to do and what can be left undone. The work must be carefully sequenced to maximize use of the time - something that can be done on the bus should be put off in favor of something that must be done at home.

 

The skills learned can be called upon in any number of crisis situations, personal and professional. The "Make It Work" attitude can come into play over and over again in the tight moments in life. The ability to clearly see what's important and get on with it, while you put aside the rest, is useful in so many ways.

 

I have a lot of regard for your re-frame, here. :)

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I remember laying out those Unit Ops projects on an all night schedule.  10-11 Introduction.  11-2 Body of Work  2-5 Presentation of results  5-7 Conclusions and Summary.  7-8  Proofreading and prettifying. 

 

Then instead of feeling desperate about having to stay up all night, I felt great if I finished the Body of Work by 1am, because I was *ahead of schedule*.

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My son pulls them. Sometimes it's for a project for a class. Sometimes he and his roommates come up with an idea and go to the maker lab and stay all night working. Sometimes my oldest two--third year in college and freshman in high school--stay up all night chatting.

 

The last one I did was making my revisions and printing the final copy of my dissertation. I handed it to the graduate advisor for my department and got in the car and slept all the way to Disney World where my family had gathered to celebrate.

Edited by Caroline
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Well, then the next day you sit in classes but don't take notes, and borrow someone else's notes.

And you go home and sleep for a lot of hours.  And then you're fine.  Ah to be young again!

 

Actually I think I have pulled about 2-3 all nighters since college.  1 or 2 during major engineering crises at work, where the line would go down if certain things did not happen efficiently, and before you know it it's morning.  And 1 when I was finishing up DD's application to high school, compiling a binder of all that we had done in the previous 2 years of homeschooling and what was in progress during the then current 8th grade year.  I will say for sure, I can't take it like I used to. 

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I used to pull them all the time. One thing I discovered early on (high school) about myself is that I have a great short-term memory - it far exceeds my long term. Thus an all-nighter meant a better grade on tests. For reports, they were much more cohesive when I worked straight through on the writing part. I still had to do research ahead, but I could whip out 40 pagers in one looooooong night in college and get an A. If written over the course of a few weeks, the grade dropped. So I did what was best for my grades.

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Ds21 pulled an all-nighter on Thursday night to finish writing his honors thesis, which had to be hand-delivered at 9am yesterday. He finished around 5am, but was worried about sleeping through his alarm and decided just to stay up until it was safely in his professor's hands. The honors students all handed in their papers at the same time, and Ds said that his classmates looked exhausted and none of the ones he talked to had slept the night before. This was the last week of classes, so most of them would have had 2-3 term papers due, in addition to the honors thesis.

 

Dh and I both pulled occasional all-nighters in college. I was a procrastinator, and he was in a very tough engineering program. There were a group of guys in his program who pulled one all-nighter every single week so that they could keep up with their assignments, and Dh said it wasn't unusual to go into the lab early (6 or 7am) before class to get some work done, and find a half dozen students who'd been working all night. 

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I was the all-nighter queen in college (and still am when I have something that needs to be done *tomorrow*).  It's no badge of honor; it's procrastination and a genuine belief that I work better and more efficiently under extreme pressure.

 

Regarding cognitive decline with little sleep:  Yes, it's real for me.  But I rarely studied for an exam all-night because it was useless- I wouldn't have remembered anything because sleep solidifies concepts for me.  My all-nighters consisted of writing papers where I did the thinking or layout in my head (I'm one of those people who are lucky enough to compose a top-notch paper mostly in my head after several weeks of thinking on it), or tasks that did not require much mentally. 

DD is finishing out freshman year at St. Mary's. She is a very good student and works hard to do excellent work. She sent me a photo (selfie) of her extremely bleary looking face and said that she pulled a literal all-nighter, but finished her French final project with 30 minutes to spare.

Side bar background: I did not do traditional college; I only attended CC as an adult. Of course, I am well familiar with the concept of cramming/studying/doing a final project literally all night long. I've heard of it, but I don't really understand why this would ever be necessary unless you are in training as a Navy SEAL or a resident OB/GYN. (That's hyperbole - sorta.)

So, what's the story with all-nighters? Is it sort of just a badge of the college experience that you do, necessary or not, like a rite of passage? Like moms who trade stories about marathon nursers or laboring for 29 hours? Is it really just such a lot of work that a typical student is probably going to have to pull an all-nighter from time to time? (I've read so many studies about how cognitive ability decreases with sleep deprivation, it seems like it would be more effective to get sufficient sleep and pour your fresh brain into an exam.)

Also, one final tangent: do you pull all-nighters as an adult? (If you are in certain professions, I don't mean you.) I mean, like...I don't know...all-nighter sewing a costume for drama team or whatever? All nighter watching your on-line investments because Apple introduced a new iPhone?

 

Edited by reefgazer
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As some people said procrastination may play a role. 

Poorly estimating how much time a project will need may play a role.

For some people it just may be that there are so many demands on their time that doing the project/study in one night is the only feasible thing. 

Some people may have the work done, but feel the need to keep perfecting it up to the last minute. 

For some people it is a combination of the above. 

 

I only did all nighters a few times in college. I knew people who did them regularly. I knew some people who did them because they didn't know how to prioritize and procrastinated. I knew some people who did them because the pressure of the deadline helped them be more focused. 

 

I have not stayed up all night as a working adult, except when I chaperoned a "lock in" when I was a high school teacher years ago. (Never Again) 

 

I have not had a job that required me to stay up all night. I have had deadlines that made me work very late and then return to work very early (allowing me a tiny bit of sleep and shower). 

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I never did a full all-nighter, although I came close. I just can't function without sleep, so I had to break it up with naps. I had to put in 30-60 minute naps sprinkled throughout. It only worked for projects and papers, not for tests.

 

Both of my older girls have had erratic sleep schedules at times. My oldest pulled many all-nighters because of poor planning.

 

My middle dd did only one and that was to finish up a research project. In her case, she just couldn't stop editing and fixing it until it was time to turn it in and then she went to bed. She was up for 26 hours in a row.

 

My youngest has struggled with insomnia since she was almost 11yo. She has been on sleep meds since she was 12.5yo. She is pretty militant about her sleep. She will rarely stay up past 10:30 intentionally. It has to be something special for her to stay up late. She is a planner like my middle dd, so she plans well enough to keep from needing to do all-nighters, but she is going to start college in the fall, so we'll see how that goes.

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I only did all nighters a few times in college. I knew people who did them regularly. I knew some people who did them because they didn't know how to prioritize and procrastinated. I knew some people who did them because the pressure of the deadline helped them be more focused. 

 

I was one of the people that felt the pressure helped me focus and do my best work. I am highly ADD and focus is a serious issue for me. Procrastination did play a part, but I really enjoyed the focus. Hyper-focus is a common trait in those with ADD, just like lack of focus.

 

As for those who said they did naps or a few hours sleep, I've never been able to do that. I am a zombie on just a couple hours sleep, but can stay in hyper-focus mode for about 36 hours. My inhibitions will significantly drop when I'm that tired, but my academic work was always good. Crashing at the end is a reality though. 

 

I doubt I could do it now that I'm old, but in my 20s all nighters were part of college life and really, not a bad part. :)

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I used to pull them all the time. One thing I discovered early on (high school) about myself is that I have a great short-term memory - it far exceeds my long term. Thus an all-nighter meant a better grade on tests. For reports, they were much more cohesive when I worked straight through on the writing part. I still had to do research ahead, but I could whip out 40 pagers in one looooooong night in college and get an A. If written over the course of a few weeks, the grade dropped. So I did what was best for my grades.

 

This.  This is why I pulled all nighters in high school and college, and this is why I still occasionally pull all nighters.  I do a much better job if I do creative work all in one whack, after I've thought about it and researched it for weeks first.  The longer the cogitating period, the better work I produced.  It often looked and felt like procrastinating, and it wasn't until I was grown up and comparing notes with my mother (who works the same way) that I realized what was going on.  Now I know that is just how my particular creativity works - I have to do most of the work in my head or researching.  I have almost no long term memory and great short term memory so for some types of classes,  the ones that contained a bunch of little bits and pieces of information, cramming made perfect sense.

 

I also crammed last minute for classes where I had learned a bunch of different bits and learned them well, but didn't have a good sense of how everything fit together.  I'd learn the last pieces in the last few classes and then right before the final, read the whole textbook and put the pieces together into a cohesive whole that I could then apply to do the exam.  Again, it wasn't until I was researching different learning styles that I figured out why I work this way.

 

I'd love to be constructed differently.  I am a morning person and hate staying up late at night.  If I can get away with it, I would rather sleep from 1 - 4am and continue working from there.

 

And yes, sometimes I pulled all nighters because my classes collided or because I had procrastinated or messed up some how.

 

Nan

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Architecture students are notorious for pulling all-nighters. It is a combination of procrastination, perfectionism, knowing when to stop designing and start documenting, and social (spending the entire night in studio with a group of friend). I valued my sleep too much and never pulled an all-nighter but spent a lot of afternoons and evenings in studio alone leaving about the time my fellow students were pulling in.

 

Architects are all known for pulling all-nighters though not to the extent that they do in school. These days it is generally because perfectionism leads them to continue designing far too long.

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I pulled all nighters often. My regular sleep schedule was to bed at about 2 or 3 and up at 10. I worked until after midnight and/or went to the computer lab (this was before you had your own laptop on your dorm room) to work on programs. Compiling was faster at night and it was easier to get a seat. So...staying up until sunrise was no big deal. 

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I did several.   It usually wasn't procrastination.  I would do them to every now and then to get ahead on my work.  Mainly because I could get a lot done at once with no distractions.  With enough caffeine, you are awake anyway.   No one calls and there wasn't anything on TV.   Main thing, though, was working without interruptions.  It was like the time I worked as an Engineer in 24/7/365 manufacturing, on what I called the noon to whatever shift.  I would get much more work done after 5 pm then before.    Also, when I was young it was no big deal to stay up all night.  I'd be perfectly fine the next day, and a little off on the one after.   Now that I am older, even staying up for a couple of extra hours one night makes me almost worthless for two.  Of course when I went back for my masters as an adult I didn't spend many hours a week drinking beer, so I had extra time to study.  
 

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I never could stay up all night. The latest possible was about 2am, and only then a very few times typing papers (with my fancy electronic typewriter that had *1* line of memory :lol:)

 

Dh regularly pulled all-nighters while in college.

 

Ds did often. As a comp sci major, he'd code and code and code more...and often have to start over.

 

Older dd cannot function without sleep. She becomes physically ill. So her "all nighters" go until midnight.

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I never pulled all-nighters. I did usually survive on about six hours of sleep during the week and played catch up on the weekends. I had no idea about ds, and this thread prompted me to inquire. Likewise, he has yet to pull an all-nighter. He said he is more likely to stay up late because of "play" rather than "work." He recalled one instance of staying up until 3:30 playing pool in the commons area of his freshmen dorm. He said the latest he has ever stayed up working is about 2:00 am, and that is very uncommon. He really is good about managing his time. He rarely seems stressed. I'm going to take a little bit of credit for the time management skill. I have many, short mantras that I have drilled into his head from an early age. One is, "Work before play." It seems to have (happily) taken.

 

The cause of all-nighters is clearly (from this thread) not always procrastination. However, for a humorous take on that challenge, take a gander at this Ted talk. Pretty funny stuff.

 

Edited by Hoggirl
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My only all nighters have been as a parent. I am not one for long time periods without sleep. I do not do well.

 

My girls have not reported all nighters to me. I doubt they have. They tend to be meticulous planners. (One has an unnatural attraction for Excel spread sheets...Seriously, she even has a grocery/meal sheet where she keeps up with how much she spends per meal.) Reports are usually finished well in advance. Tweaking happens the day before it is due if it hasn't already been submitted. They study for tests as they go along. The dd who had a professor who procrastinated and ended up cramming almost all of their material and tests into the last couple of weeks of school did have to do some later nights of studying those two weeks. They wonder at their friends who report how hard they studied for a test, but know they didn't start studying until a day or two before.  They all have a need for sleep similar to their mother, which means that staying up all night is generally going to mean a useless crying heap of human well before morning.

 

Ds would have most likely been one to wait to study, write papers, and do projects the night before they are due.

 

One of my girls was wondering about the all nighter sensation this exam period. She decided it is a romanticized notion that most students feel is required of college students. It does perplex her a great deal. She has one friend who is in multiple classes with her who uses this as their routine method of studying. According to them, it is "what works for me". Only, they are constantly and consistently surprised by their horrible grades. Dd cannot figure out how that = "works".

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I've never done all-nighters for exams but have done for projects or work or kids. Mostly for university it was because there was just so much going on at various times with having jobs as well as multiple courses and if you needed to use certain equipment to do parts of projects you were waiting your turn which could make it hard to spread workload in a less stressful manner. I've done a few all-nighters or close to that for my pre-kids job because it had very fixed deadlines and whilst we did usually get a break overnight they could be a lot shorter than they were supposed to be. By the time you got home caught up on personal part of work, ate and travelled back to work, there'd be no actual sleep. Luckily it was very rare.  I don't function well with no sleep, I quickly lose the ability to function properly. 

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When I went to college, in the early 80's, it seemed very typical to pull an all nighter at least once during finals.  I did most semesters.  It didn't feel like that big of a deal, really.  I just always seemed to have so much work at the end and even cramming wasn't quite enough.  I'd have to stay up all night to finish that last paper, or whatever.  I was definitely not a perfectionist or high-standards student. In hind site, I really don't know if procrastination or poor-planning was involved or not.  It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time!

 

Since then, I've only pulled all nighters if someone is sick or we are traveling.  Of course right now I'm up at an odd-hour, but it won't be all night!

 

Of my 4 children who are/have been in college, I don't think ANY of them ever pulled an all nighter!  That actually kind of baffles me.

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Ds21 pulled an all-nighter on Thursday night to finish writing his honors thesis, which had to be hand-delivered at 9am yesterday. He finished around 5am, but was worried about sleeping through his alarm and decided just to stay up until it was safely in his professor's hands. The honors students all handed in their papers at the same time, and Ds said that his classmates looked exhausted and none of the ones he talked to had slept the night before. This was the last week of classes, so most of them would have had 2-3 term papers due, in addition to the honors thesis.

 

I have occasionally pulled all-nighters for just this reason. IF I go to bed at 3a-3;30a, I cannot be sur eI will wake up to my alarm. So if sleeping through that is critical, (say, needing to get to the airport on time) I'll stay up instead.

 

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Dh and I were not all nighter pullers. 

 

But both of our colleges I guess had a large enough population of all nighter people that at the end of each semester they celebrated it by hosting all night food in the cafeteria, midnight jazz band mini-concerts, etc., and free coffee and caffeinated soda in just about every building. I usually had all my studying done, all my assignments turned in by Finals week so only had to keep things fresh with light studying. Still, the pancakes at midnight along with a little jazz music was fun.

 

However, I do know that sometimes even with the best of students there can just be so much work due in such a short span on top of an already tough semester, that it can't be avoided necessarily. I did feel sorry for my guy this semester. He was on top of all his work and study through the whole semester so didn't need to pull any all nighters, but it was stormy that week and his bad leg ached something fierce. He ended up staying awake to study just because he couldn't sleep, and took all of his finals totally sleep deprived. Four A's and a B, so he did very well. But yikes. He came home after his last final, looked like something that cat had dragged around the yard for too long, and I promptly loaded him up with a prescription pain med, damp towel, and electric heating pad. He slept for 12 hours! I had to make him hydrate when he woke up, but he sure looked better.

 

All nighters do work for some people. However, I think for the crowd that pulls two or three in a row, cram, cram, cram, they are counter productive because sleep deprivation makes memory recall slow.

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I've never been able to do it - I just need to sleep.  The closest was staying up very late to finish a paper.

 

I did know some people who seemed to work well that way - they seemed to like to work at night - maybe because it is harder to get distracted.  One friend o mine could be incredibly productive this way - he was one of those people who only needed to sleep a few hours.  Though - now that he is older I notice that he can no longer do that, he had to find better habits.

 

As far as studying goes, I think that for most things it should not be necessary.  It's better to be caught up and then get a good night's sleep.

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I never did an all nighter through grad school. I need a lot of sleep and simply don't function well if I stay up late, and just cannot stay up all night.

I'd rather get up really early in the morning to work.

 

From what I hear from DD, she sometimes work through most of the night and gets just a very small amount of sleep. She does not procrastinate and is very organized, but her school is famous for its insane work load.

 

 

I've never been able to do it - I just need to sleep.  The closest was staying up very late to finish a paper.

 

I did know some people who seemed to work well that way - they seemed to like to work at night - maybe because it is harder to get distracted.  One friend o mine could be incredibly productive this way - he was one of those people who only needed to sleep a few hours.  Though - now that he is older I notice that he can no longer do that, he had to find better habits.

 

As far as studying goes, I think that for most things it should not be necessary.  It's better to be caught up and then get a good night's sleep.

 

Same here - sleep has always taken priority, and I need a lot of it.  I'd do what I could, and then I'd figure it was as good as it was going to get and I'd hit the hay.

 

What concerns me about kids pulling all-nighters these days is that the "assistance" methods available now - 5-hr energy pills, or even illegal substances, as opposed to a can of Coke - can cause serious damage.  I would certainly hope my kid will be smart enough not to do that, but one never knows....

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What concerns me about kids pulling all-nighters these days is that the "assistance" methods available now - 5-hr energy pills, or even illegal substances, as opposed to a can of Coke - can cause serious damage.  I would certainly hope my kid will be smart enough not to do that, but one never knows....

 

Yes, this.  Here's one woman's story about her adderall addiction.  You can buy candy with caffeine, making it easy to eat large quantities.  Thank you for the reminder to have a talk with my kids about this.  

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nodoz was popular back when I was in college.

 

And yes, it comes back to me now.  Part of the reason for the all nighters was that it was much easier to get a terminal in the computer room and the computer wasn't so bogged down.  It is easier to do all nighters involving programming computers, for some reason.  Maybe because they talk back and programming is a very absorbing occupation.  I still remember how nice it was to brush my teeth after a night of programming on twinkies and coke and fritos out of the vending machines.  And my hair.

 

Nan

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My dorm used to hand out warm chocolate chip cookies at 3:00 am all the way through finals. 

 

Yes, my college did this at end of term - not cookies particularly but snacks, at midnight I think.  Most of the students living in were first years and were preparing for oral exams.  Since we'd all read the same books, there was a lot of group studying.

 

It was kind of fun really, though I never stayed up past about 1.

 

The drug use thing now is a worry though.  There was a little of that when I was there, but it was more serious to get hold of the right things.  Now it seems easy to find something and mix it with the energy drinks.

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Did a few all-nighters in college. Never to study, that wouldn't have worked for me, but to write papers and complete lab books. Usually it was because I procrastinated, sometimes because data were just not coming in the way they needed to, but I was good enough under pressure to get a way with it.

 

I have also done a few all-nighters for work as an adult. I worked for an engineering consulting company where the Customer Is Always Right. And when you have spent literally months on a project, and the customer comes in just before the due date and say, "I forgot to tell you..."...well, one time I sent my admin out for a giant bag of chocolate-covered espresso beans for the team. Almost 48 hours straight.

 

Of course, as a mom, there were several all-nighters...

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Thinking of this thread, I had to laugh when I overheard my husband on the phone with one of our sons a few days ago at the end of finals week saying, "Keep working. You can sleep next week." - and then this afternoon, to encourage one of our extra ones who is at community college, repeating it. We will never forget coaching that one through her first finals week. We told her she couldn't do anything at all but study, take exams, and sleep until it was all over, she had to eat at her desk, and she had to ignore everything else until next week. She was horrified. She had no idea of how many hours of studying it took to get through finals. We made her a schedule and she plugged through it and did great in the end. The rest of us looked at each other and thought for the umpteenth time about the many things first generation college students don,t know.

 

Nan

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I *need* sleep.  I would be much better off going to bed at say 9:30 and getting up at 03:30 and studying prior to the exam than trying to stay up all night.  I do have an awesome long-term memory, though -- so if I were "cramming" for a test, it was most likely boning up on details (names/dates/factoids) vs. concepts.  I had one prof who was known for asking for lots of carpy details about famous individuals (this was for a Classical Rhetoric class, where we studied "the greats").  It was, apparently, far more important to this guy that we knew when/where and to whom Augustine was born, and what he liked to eat, than what he actually did :p  I *hated* that class because of that prof.  (If I had "rate my professor" back then, I probably would have written a scathing review after I graduated.)

 

All nighters were not something I had to pull, I did pull one once, just to say I did.  As an adult, I've pulled more with sick kids, working on our house (tile work), or simply not being able to sleep (stress-cleaning).  They did not work for me as a student.

 

I'm also someone who did better writing my papers in one push.  However, I had my research done/organized/outlined well before I started writing.  I did the same thing when I worked in public policy/marketing.  I would write for days -- usually 3 months worth of work -- and then move back into strategic planning/organization/editing/copy/design aspects.  

 

 

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I rarely had the kind of exams where cramming facts was helpful - languages would be the closest really.

 

Many of my classes didn't really have exams, we just had term papers.  Exams were usually just short papers written in class.

 

So really studying for those was mostly about knowing the texts we were reading.

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I pulled one all-nighter in college, and that was my freshman year.  Well, I guess I pulled another one my senior year, but that was for the college newspaper that I edited, not a class.

 

In my adult life, I can only recall one all nighter, and that was a couple of years ago when we were on a strict deadline to get all of our stuff out of our old house prior to renting it.  Whoa, that was rough at age 50.  I, at least, was able to go to sleep at 7 or so in the morning, but my poor DH had breakfast and went off to work.  Fun times, fun times.

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I never pulled an all-nighter in law school, but I came close a few times to finish a paper. Procrastination was definitely a factor. It always struck me as counter-productive as far as studying, because all the cramming does you no good if your mind is exhaustion-fuzzed when you take an exam.

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Low level science classes were the ones where I found it useful to stay up to reread the textbook the night before. I stayed up to finish computer projects. I crammed grammar for foreign languages and reviewed a bit for math and math-type exams (like physics and statics), but that didn,t require staying up all night. I had been using that material all along and mostly had it down.

 

Nan

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