I’m willing to bet that like myself, all students, at some point, have had to endure the dreaded all nighter, or even half nighter, for whatever reason. If you find that you either do your best work during midnight, like me, or “work best under pressure” (i.e. tend to leave your assignment until the last day) then I’m sure this is a regular occurrence for you.
With that being said, I am going to introduce a more light-hearted topic. I present to you a guide of some sort, which entails how to survive late night library, detailing my top 5 necessities.
There are few things worse than when that early morning hunger hits you. The local Dominos Pizza in Loughborough closes at 5am (they know what they are doing 😒) and during my first term I fell into the vicious trap of ordering Dominos every time I did an all nighter. Once or twice is fine, but if it becomes something you find yourself doing consistently, it’s probably way more cost effective to either plan your own meals, if you eat like me, or at least bring some light snacks to keep you going. Some quick, easy and healthy snacks I would suggest are mixed nuts and raisins, peanut butter sandwiches (with or without jam), bananas and water.
*I avoid energy drinks and coffee unless absolutely necessary, because I believe energy drinks are no good for you and coffee makes me jumpy. However, they can sometimes do a lot for you when you’re running out of steam.*
If you would prefer however, crisps, sweets, biscuits and soft drinks will do just fine. Sometimes though, the occasion will call for a takeaway, which is equally fine.
- Comfortable Clothing
Rarely do I ever spend the night in the library in anything other than a tracksuit. They are comfortable, warm, and simple. If you’re going to sit at a desk continuously for 4+ hours, I would be inclined to say jeans (especially slim fit or skinnies) are a no no. They might work for you but I find that they tend to irritate my skin after an extended period of time.
- Regular Breaks
No. Not regular breaks for you to waste time on unrelated things like Facetime, Twitter or chatting with the people you came with, but every so often, get up and walk around for a minute or two, and maybe stretch to keep your blood moving and your body awake. Even go outside for some fresh air to keep your brain from shutting down. This one is especially important if you’ve been up for longer than your normal full day, which for most people I would guess to be between maybe 14 and 18 hours. Once your body realises your regular day is over and that you should be sleeping, it will try to sabotage you and it will try to turn itself off.
*My full day record is 33 hours (with a 3 hour nap 6 hours into the first day). I got to the library at 1am (17 hours into my day) and didn’t make it out until my deadline passed at 6pm. I almost died.*
This one is key. If you’re the type who does their best to smell at least decent at all times, you want to make sure you have some with you. Take it from me, if you end up leaving an assignment until the last minute, you will have occasional moments where the stress hits you like a ton of bricks and your nerves fail you. In short, you will sweat. If you end up leaving an assignment until the last second (like I did when I ended up submitting a report 27 seconds before the deadline) that final hour will kill you, 60 minutes will turn into 5 minutes in what will feel like only 20 minutes. I forgot my deodorant and my nerves were everywhere. I ended up leaving the library smelling rude. Yes. Rude.
Similar story as the deodorant with this one. There is nothing I hate more than poor dental hygiene, and there is nothing I would hate more than to offend people just by speaking to them after pulling an all nighter. Honestly, there is no excuse! It doesn’t hurt to rinse your mouth over the course of the night or at least chew some gum to keep it in a bearable state.
There we have my top 5 necessities for surviving late night library.
For those of you who prefer to work during the night, take this and use it. For those of you who have a habit of leaving work until the last minute, late night library is not something I encourage as a solution, and it’s definitely not worth the stress, but sometimes it is necessary. Obviously, the better option is to plan well and aim to complete work in good timing, but sometimes this little thing called life trips up the most organised of us. Despite this, I believe that if you’re going to do something, you should do it properly so, here are my tips to you.
What are some of your tips for surviving late night library? Let me know by leaving a comment below.