Ah, college: That unique time when you're free to make your own schedule, and yet far too drunk and lazy to ever stick to it. Thus necessitating the All Nighter: The London Blitz of academia.
Just The Facts
- The all nighter is a bizarre self-flagellation ritual frequently undergone by high school and college students.
- All nighters are the filthy byproduct of procrastination, lack of foresight, and panicked desperation.
- The modern all nighter is comprised of equal parts stimulants, sleep deprivation, and Wikipedia.
- As soon as it's over, you'll promise yourself never to let it happen again. Then promptly reward yourself for buckling down so well with some video games and beer instead of studying for that next report....
Procrastination of the Past
Let's start off with what All Nighters were like before the Internet. Remember a time when that dusty, long-neglected corner of the library dedicated to encyclopedias and other ancient research tools was actually populated? A time when someone couldn't just simply flip their phone out in the bar and Google what year George Washington kicked Great Britain the balls; a time where an All Nighter actually meant something?
Back then an unfinished project in the morning was a terrifying situation: Once the library closed there was just no way of getting the information necessary to make a report. In a best-case scenario one would have already borrowed the necessary books beforehand, but there was no ctrl+f to quickly find the information in those books - you had to turn the pages with your own fingers like some kind of goddamn barbarian. At least half of an all night study session was spent deciphering a table of contents the size of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, finding nothing, and then looking up to find yourself in the Biology section...which does little to help with your English report.
"Man, that's a lot to get through in a night. Good thing we still have cocaine and lying!"
Good thing we don't live in that time period anymore. This is the Information Age: An era where everything you need to know is but a few mouse clicks away on the Internet. And in a perfect world that would simplify matters greatly, but this is not a perfect world. For within the Internet lurks a vicious pack of distractions just waiting to tear your attention span to shreds.
Distractions of the Future
There's a project due tomorrow morning and, like usual, you've waited until the last minute. You would've studied, but those Halo n00bs weren't going to call themselves fags and that Jaegerbomb is certainly not going to vomit itself onto the hallway carpet; you had shit to do. But no matter what the excuse, the fact of the matter is that a report you had a month to do hasn't even been started yet, it's midnight, and your class starts in less than eight hours. At least you have the internet and all of the convenience that entails, unlike those poor bastards of yester-year. This should go smoothly, right?
Well, let's look at a typical Internet-goer's browser:
Social sites, YouTube, chat clients, e-mail and good ol' Cracked: Wreckin' up an all nighter's shit.
Note how many of these distractions are actually built into the browser itself, let alone all the crap elsewhere on the homepage. Now just think what lies behind the browser on the desktop: Shortcuts to games, instant messaging programs, and hidden porn folders all lie in wait, just itching to make sweet love to your ADD until the sun comes up.
So while we have access to every piece of educational information we'll ever need via our new-fangled Googles and Wikipedias - there's a much higher proportion of trivial bullshit lying around to distract you. For every one piece of useable information, there are ten pages of comic archives your OCD will have you browsing through at a moment's notice.
The only way to combat it is to do the unthinkable: Step away from your computer. Or if you can't do that, at the very least you need to uninstall your games, delete your bookmarks, install a web filter, sign out of all running programs, and just altogether turn your computer from a game playing, porn downloading, pleasure machine into a barren wasteland of hard work and research. If you've done everything right, your computer should look something like this:
Of course, all that took eight hours to do and now your report's late anyway...
Once your computer has been transformed from a sultry vixen of shotgun blasts and retarded trivia into a cold-hearted, studious research Berserker, all you have to worry about now is staying awake. Which, without all the things that previously held your interest (like all that music, chat software, and of course the titties) is going to become ball-flatteningly difficult. But hey, that's what caffeine is for, right? So start abusing the best legal, non age-restricted drug on the market, and keep doing it until your eyeballs vibrate at the exact same frequency as knowledge itself, and you should be fine. Or you could just not put shit off until the last minute in the first place...
Ha! No, we're just kidding; info-vibrate away.