Diary of An All-Nighter

Queen of procrastination CLAUDIA BLUNT gives her account of a (not so) successful all-nighter…

all-nighter claudia blunt deadline diary diary of an all-nighter essay eureka sainburys

Pulling an all-nighter for an essay deadline is part and parcel of the student experience. An insight into the ins and outs of a student’s 12-hour epic battle against time, however, is something rarely glimpsed. Feast your eyes below, dear readers, and remember: procrastination is all part of the fun.

8 pm – Forage for supplies. Without an adequate calorie intake any sensible amount of work will be next to impossible. The Sainsbury’s strip-lighting doesn’t make for much inspiration. The hunter-gatherer instinct isn’t kicking in. Decide to get some pasta for that quick fix…oh, and energy drinks and more coffee and maybe chocolate. Because anything goes in this scenario and serotonin levels must be maintained if however many thousand words are to magically appear on paper by dawn.

8.30 pm – Depart Sainsbury’s with bags of goodies to keep me occupied all night. Plenty of cigarettes. After all, getting some ‘air’ might help keep me awake and all that time standing outside in the dark will certainly provide eureka moments of inspiration as I ‘collect my thoughts’.

8.45pm – Begin cooking. Slowly craft complicated pasta sauce. My body is a temple. No tinned basics filth will get the creative juices flowing.

9.20 pm – Increasingly impatient waiting for pasta to boil…time is of the essence. Al dente is how the real Italians eat it anyway. Sample my creation – it’s still crispy. Start again.

9.45 pm – Appetite firmly sated. Spend three minutes savoring post-dinner cig. Begin washing up. In the spirit of cleanliness, I should probably now attempt to clean my entire room. After all, if the feng shui is right I’m much more likely to come up with something profound.

10.30 pm – Successfully organize all of my highlighters in rainbow order. Spend ten minutes running round house looking for where the bedder keeps the hoover. Room now looks like something out of House and Garden. Invite all housemates to come and witness the achievement.

11 pm – Spend fifteen minutes trying to craft a witty blast for Facebook about my plight and impending night of sleeplessness. We’re all in this together. A boy I once kissed at a school disco pops up on my newsfeed. Spend too much time looking through his photos to see what he’s been doing since 2004. Begin wondering what might have happened if he’d ever texted me.

11.30 pm – Bugger. I need to get on with this. Begin trying to brainstorm the few ideas I have. It doesn’t look right on paper. Start again. Have a smoke and try to calm down.

11.40 pm – I don’t have enough to write about. Begin frantically searching JStor for anything and everything to do with the topic. Why doesn’t the geriatric lecturer know how to use CamTools? Frankly it’s selfish. I vow to go to all remaining lectures.

Midnight – Have another cigarette.

12.15 am – Have successfully found 2 articles that may or may not have something to do with the essay. They’ll do.

12.25 am – The articles are, in fact, spectacularly boring. Maybe that’s a good thing. The duller they are, the more academic, ergo the more profound I shall sound. Definite plus points for ‘going outside the confines of the reading list’. Also, if my supervisor hasn’t read them then I’m much more likely to be able to waffle my way through a supervision trying to educate him on all that he’s missing out on. Winning. Have a cigarette to reward myself.

12.35 am – Make a cup of coffee before sitting down to actually start bashing this thing out.

1 am – Precisely 40 words on paper. Hells yeh biznitches.

1.15 am – I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Introduction isn’t exciting. I want to set them up for something mind-blowing that’ll detract from the fact that I have no clue what posthumanism actually is. I should mention it anyway. Have another coffee and another cigarette. Get in the zone, Blunty, get in the zone.

1.30 am – The dynamic’s not right in here. Music. Something epic. Ridley Scott soundtracks. You are a warrior, Blunty, you can beat this! Maybe if I just shout ‘ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!’ at my supervisor that’ll work. I really am wasted in academics.

2 am – 800 words (of unadulterated bullshit) on paper. GET IN. Flagging. Have another coffee and cig.

3 am – Past the 1k mark. Decide to have a shower. That’ll wake me up. Blow-dry my hair – otherwise I’ll get ill.

3.30 am – I need to get more motivated. Start watching YouTube’s finest ‘inspiration’ videos. Why are these all about American football? Ffs. Begin wondering what the soundtrack to the ‘all-nighter’ scene will be in my biopic.

4 am – This is miserable. Put on a pair of high heels in a vain attempt to feel like an efficient Mad Men-esque secretary. There’s nothing Joanie can’t do.

6 am – Think I might have given myself caffeine poisoning. Quiet satisfaction that I can hear the boaties getting up.

6.45 am – Home stretch.

10am – BUGGER. Wake up to find my bedder bustling into my room. My face has key prints on it. The end of my essay reads ‘adfhsgjdshsjFKGLHT;YKHGFSJD’. Deadline has been and gone. Fabulous.