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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Life At Harvard: How To Pull An All-Nighter At Harvard

Patrick, Eliot House, Class of 2016

The all-nighter. Nearly all college students, let alone Harvard students, experience it at some point. Whether from a final Expos paper, a CS50 problem set, or staying up all night to start getting ready for housing day at 5am (one blogger is definitely guilty of this), almost every Harvard student will reach a point where they realize that in order to finish an assignment they will need to sacrifice the 8 hours normally reserved for sleep (or at least most of them).

So, you’ve decided to take the so-called “nuclear” option and stay up all night. Now is where your decisions can make all the difference. You can languish away in Lamont Library, surrounded by people at similar or greater stress levels than yourself and devoid of nourishment. Or, you can keep yourself relatively comfortable and maybe even have a good time in the process. To prevent yourself from having a nightmare night, there are a few steps you can take.

Find a partner: The benefits of having someone pulling an all-nighter with you cannot be understated. Assuming your partner is also planning on working hard, you will have someone to hold you accountable. Plus, you will feel less like you’re alone in facing down this kind of stress. Not to mention that late-night snacks are infinitely better with company.

Secure a source of coffee/caffeine: If you have the superpower to stay up and alert all night without caffeine, more power to you. However, to us mortals, a ready source of caffeine is absolutely critical to staying alert while your body wants to sleep. Harvard Square Starbucks is generally open until 1am and is a good option if you are looking for a place with an atmosphere. Another great option is the IHOP on Eliot Street, which is not only open until 4am, but also offers free coffee refills. My personal favorite is the Leverett House dining hall (and that’s coming from a proud resident of Kirkland). Not only is it open 24-7, but on weeknights it also features beverages, cereal, and coffee all night long.

Be prepared to be hungry: Probably the most overlooked factor in pulling an all-night study session is that being awake all of that time burns a lot of calories. Without having snacks on hand, you are likely to get hungry enough that your productivity will seriously suffer for it. One way to counter this is to eat lots of protein leading up to the all-nighter. This will fill you up and help stave off hunger. Even so, you’ll probably want to eat at some point and, luckily, Harvard Square features many good options: HUDS Facilities, CVS, Nochs, Tasty Burger, IHOP, The Kong, Felipe’s, Au Bon Pain, and the 24-Hour Market.

Now that you’re ready to defy nature, put on some flannel pajamas, get your coffee mug ready, and get ready to get tired!


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  2. I have done it on RARE event. The dusk 'til dawn affair itself isn't the hardest part. The key inquiry is what must you do the next day? After 1 dusk 'til dawn affair (trailed by the test itself), my body was prepared to close down. Ensure you have permitted that "crash" time after a dusk 'til dawn affair/test or 2.

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