The Five Stages of an All-Nighter

We all know the feeling. It’s nearing 11 pm and you have a paper due tomorrow. Instead of diligently working all day like you told yourself you would last night, you’ve been streaming Parks and Rec episodes, Googling “what to do after you drop out of college,” and eating your stress away. Now there’s no way you can escape your own bad decisions. It’s going to be a long night.


Denial (10 pm-11pm)

It’s still early in the night, and you have enough youthful hope to think that you can knock this assignment out and still go to bed at a reasonable time. How hard can writing a five-page paper be, anyway? This will be as easy and upbeat as a training montage from an eighties movie!


Avoidance (11 am-12:30 am)

You’ve read the assignment through again and your stomach starts to sink as you realize that this might take some actual effort. That’s effort you can’t afford to make right now. You’re much better off calling your best friend from home, cleaning your entire common room, and trying to engage your unenthusiastic, sleepy suitemates in a midnight game of Monopoly. EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.


Panic (12:30 am-1 am)

Oh my God. OH MY GOD. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF? It’s one in the morning and you’re sitting on the floor of your room, crying into a box of cheerios, contemplating dropping out or fleeing the country or both. Everyone else in the suite went to bed half an hour ago, so no one’s awake to witness your slow descent into madness.


Acceptance (1 am-5 am)

Okay, there’s nothing left for you to do. You chug two cups of coffee and it makes you a little dizzy, but your mind clears. You sit down and think of nothing but symbolism and textual evidence for four hours. Your paper is incoherent and you’ll be ashamed to look at it later, but it’s done.


Regret (6:30 am)

You watch the sunrise with a haggard look in your eyes. You’ve seen too much. You have no time to sleep, so you just put on pants and run to your 9 am class. You look like something out of the Night of the Living Dead, and you swear to never put yourself through that again. You have a p-set due next week that you should probably start, and you totally will—after tonight’s episode.