During my career as a student, I have been often faced with the dreaded all-nighter (not the fun, youth group kind). Spending sleepless nights pouring over books in the library, I searched for something, anything, to help support my points in the paper I was writing. I lamented over my time management skills as I sighed and grabbed another book to leaf through.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that without the tips I am about to provide you with, all-nighters may be unavoidable. Papers and assignments pile up if you let them, but luckily, I have enough experience with all-nighters to share some wisdom on how to avoid them. Here are three of the best ways to avoid all-nighters and get that all-important sleep.
1. CHECK THAT SYLLABUS
Everybody knows that the first few days of any class involve going over the syllabus for the class in detail. If you have not had the pleasure of receiving a syllabus before, it usually contains a schedule that plans out every single one of your assignments and allows you to plan out your entire schedule from day one.
It’s going to take a lot of work, but make sure you take the time at the beginning of the semester to put your assignments all into your planner. Not only should you put the assignment in your planner, but if it is a project, consider including a brief page limit or description so that you can get a head start on it.
I know I basically just gave you a homework assignment, but trust me, in the end, it will keep you from doing something like this:
2. TURN OFF YOUR DEVICES
I’m a pretty quick writer. I’m the kind of guy who can crank out a three-page paper in a few hours. However, I also have a talent for convincing myself that I can do an assignment with Netflix on and my phone right next to me, but I am lying to myself.
Work simply does not get done when you have sources of entertainment around to distract you. I have seen “The Emperor’s New Groove” more than 20 times, and I will still find a way to be more interested in it than my homework assignment 100% of the time. When it comes time to get work done, make sure you place all of your devices out of reach, and I promise that a two-hour homework session will not become a four-hour one.
3. FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
At some point in life, all of us need someone to support us in one thing or another. It is incredibly important to find someone in your life that cares enough about you to tell you when you need to sit your butt down and write the paper you’ve been putting off for three days. For me, that person is my lovely fiancé, but for you, it may be your fellow classmate, mentor or even your mom.
Find someone that isn’t afraid to be honest with you about when you need to get things done and they will help you sort through the mess. Even consider giving them your schedule so they know when you should be working on something instead of playing Xbox for an hour straight.
Even with all of this information, there are still going to be times where you are faced with the inevitable all-nighter. When that happens, don’t run. It’s so easy to dread the long night you are about to spend in the library under cold, melancholy lights. But here is the best part: You won’t be alone.
Every student has one of those nights, so take shelter in the knowledge that you’re not alone in your fight. Find your courage, steel your will, and face it head on.
“Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.” —Thanos
For a preview of student-focused services Cornerstone offers to help you maximize your time as a college student (and avoid all-nighters in the process), plan a campus visit! Get our guide Make the Most Out of Your Campus Visit, and start planning your road trip now.