128. The All-Nighter

It appears that 4 years of university and constant sickness hasn’t taught me anything about avoiding all-nighters.

I’ve never had a problem sleeping. In fact, I am of the opinion that most of my problems come from me not sleeping. I don’t think I have even missed a single night’s worth of sleep throughout my primary and secondary school life. Homework not done? Well, what’s the worst that the teacher can do? Exam tomorrow? I’ll be fine. Presentation in the morning? I’ll wing it. Nothing has stopped me from getting a proper good night’s worth of sleep.

Nothing before I went into university, that is.

My first all-nighter in the name of work came in my second semester of university, the one in which I was taking a course called Introduction to Computer Applications (which, as is the case with most university courses, didn’t actually teach me anything concerning the subject matter). Being a Year 1 subject, the group assignment was ridiculously easy – with 4 of us in a group, we were supposed to produce a 5-page report. Being me, I collected and compiled my group mates’ works, and waited until the last minute to actually begin working on my segment of the work.

You know how the rest of it goes: the reluctant battle against procrastination, the fight to stay awake, and most challenging, the struggle to actually begin working on something. I eventually completed the work at about 5A.M., and since the class was at 9A.M., I thought I’d better just stay awake and hand in the printed assignment. Knowing myself, if I had went to sleep then, I might not have woken up until the class, and by extension the deadline, was over.

Like Eve taking the first bite of the forbidden fruit, there was no turning back. What, assignment due? Nah, I’ll be able to get it done if I pull an all-nighter. 15-page report? If I just write 3 pages per hour, I can complete it by 6A.M. if I start by midnight. 30-page business plan? That’s alright, it’s only due at 5P.M.; plenty of time.

It wouldn’t have been so bad, I think, if pulling one of these all-nighters had viciously turned and bit me in the butt; but the trouble was that it always worked for me. I relished in the adrenaline rush, and soon I became dependent on the last-minute pressure to motivate myself to work. At its very worst, I was pulling an all-nighter to complete my thesis – report, slides, and all – the night before the presentation, which was scheduled at 10A.M.

I barely just made it, having completed my slides and printed the materials necessary for my presentation at 9.45A.M that morning.

It’s a terrible, terrible habit to have, of course; and recent all-nighters have proved to be very, very bad for my general physical and mental well being; but like a drug, I just cannot stop relying on it despite knowing how bad it is for me. Just this last time, I’ll tell myself. One last all-nighter, and I promise I’ll get clean. That’s what I told myself after completing my thesis.

That’s what I told myself when I completed my assignment three weeks ago.

That’s what I told myself the night before my finals last Wednesday.

And that’s what I’m telling myself tonight as I continue to work on this video.


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