My 24 hours in the library

Join me in my tragic quest to write an essay in 24 hours

Four years at university and I’ve never pulled an all-nighter. I’ve always scoffed at those who leave their work until the last minute, considering myself above them.

Turns out I was very much mistaken, and now at the final (ish) stretch, I’ve become one of them due to becoming complacent in my ability to juggle various deadlines, and being a bit too much of a believer in “it will be alright in the end”.

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And so here I am, with all the other disorganized and stressed out students in the Forum library for the next 24 hours, embracing the experience and hoping to write something vaguely resembling an essay by the deadline tomorrow morning.

Having consulted my friends more seasoned in the art of the all-nighter, I have prepared a survival kit which is made up of lots and lots of food, and have set up a nice little space in a quiet study room.

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Here we go.

9.45 am

Considering that it’s the last week of term, I’m surprised at how quiet it is. It’s annoyingly becoming a really nice day so the blinds are pulled down in the study room so that no-one is reminded of the sun they’re missing out on.

Got my first coffee of the day. Time to crack on.

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12 pm

Haven’t made quite as much progress as I would have liked after more than two hours here, but lovely co-editor Corrie Gold brought me another coffee and a fork for my salad because I forgot mine, so that’s helping my overall spirit.

The library is filling up now after the classic 11am rush. Why do people swan in at 11 and then look annoyed when there aren’t any seats? Everyone knows the rush is at 11.

Genuinely best coffee on campus

Genuinely best coffee on campus 

 2pm

Just took a lunch break with a fellow stressed out IR student in the balcony of the library.

My deadline is exactly 24 hours away and although my reading is coming along I’m still not even close to actually starting to write it.

Currently reading about existentialism and wondering how my life got to this sad point… I think I’ve hit a wall. Might have dip into my chocolate reserves earlier than expected.

It's time.

It’s time 

4.30pm

I’m feeling better now. A little less angry towards Heidegger and Derrida for making me write an essay about them, especially since more friends have come to bring me chocolate. Good thing too, since I ate my toffee crisp very early.

The library is still not as full as I would have expected for the day before Black Thursday. Perhaps not that many people have deadlines? Or perhaps most people are just really organized and on top of the game. Most likely the latter.

Either way, I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Still not ready to start writing, but I’ll get there.

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7pm

Shit’s getting real now, so I’ll start posting more often.

This is usually the time when I would leave the library, as soon as it gets dark all sort of working motivation usually exists my brain… I wonder what kind of people lurk around post-dinner time.

Nothing like those home comforts

Nothing like those home comforts

On the plus side, I’VE FINISHED MY ESSAY PLAN. Now for a quick dinner and a brief Netflix session and then I’ll start writing.

As soon as it hit around 6/6.30 the study room got real quiet real quick, and none of the original 9.45am gang are here. I’ll do a round of the rest of the library on my next break to see how busy it is.

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 8pm

Brief Netflix session turned into an hour-long affair, but I’m back on it now. Time to start writing.

Feeling fairly tired, and foolishly haven’t had a coffee since my midday fix because my hands started shaking from having 2 big coffees in the space on two hours.

Now all of my friends have gone home so I can’t ask anyone to go out and get one for me, or even an energy drink. I will have to survive the next 13 and a half hours purely on my own youth and exuberance. And I have lots of nuts. They’re full of energy, right?

9.45pm – THE HALFWAY MARK

Approx. 500 words in and it has become apparent that my worst fears have come true and it is abundantly clear that I’m waffling away without absolutely no clue what I’m going on about. Probably due to the fact that the notes I took in preparation for this essay are completely illegible.

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Oh well, might as well press on.

There is a rather sombre atmosphere in the library, and every floor is at least three quarters full of people, bar the-1 study rooms which are very roomy. So surprised at how many people are here.

10pm

Just as I was panicking about how I was going to make it through without any sort of artificial energy in the form of energy drinks or coffee, two of my lovely, lovely fellow Tabbers came back and dumped a bag of treats onto my desk, no doubt annoying everyone else in the study room. HA.

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Crisps, sweets, more chocolate, those rogue “Boost” bars, a bottle of Lucozade and, of course, ProPlus. I’m going to try and go without the pills as I’ve managed to survive thus far without ever resorting to them, but it’s nice to have the option.

11.15pm

This is fine. 800 words down and 10 hours left. The Arctic temperature in this study room is keeping me alert.

12.25pm

This is not fine. I think I’ve hit The Wall.

1.30am

I don’t want to resort to the ProPlus this early in the game, so Lucozade it is to try and beat this wave of tiredness.

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Library is still pretty busy, and there’s a sense of comradery in the computer area that I simply do not have time for with this many words stilll to go.

2.30am

Two-thirds of the way through my plan but only half of the way through the word count. Oh dear.

Spirits in the library (other than my own) are fairly high, and I saw some people coming in with Domino’s earlier. Whatevs, I don’t even care, I have a squashed cheese sandwich I’ve been saving in my bag for when cheese-related envy rolls in.

People are leaving to go to their nice, warm beds. I miss my bed.

3.15am

I think I’ve finally had the wave of energy I’ve been waiting for. I suddenly feel like I can maybe power through, and I’ve moved along to the main area of -1 and out of the freezer room/study room.

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800 words to go and still a fair few people here.

A couple of hours ago the atmosphere was quite cheerful but now there’s just a bit of an underlying sense of desperation among the whole crowd.

 4.30am

Have achieved nothing in the past hour. Got a coffee and am considering taking out shares in the library coffee machine consering how much business it’s getting tonight.

What essay?

What essay?

Have to somehow bullshit 700 words out of thin air.

Found out that some people here are still working on their dissertations due in tomorrow, so it could definitely always be worse…

5.15am

Sense of comradery is once again rife in the library. Poor Geography students are printing their dissertations and reassuring each other that it will be alright.

Due to the heart-warming shows of support and overwhelming feeling of relief that at least this is not my dissertation that I’m 300 words away from completing a mere few hours before the deadline, I am once again feeling invigorated.

 6.15 am

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Oh God I’m so tired. I somehow need to write 150 more words in the conclusion and then I’ll be legitimately within 10% less of the word limit. This may prove a problem though, as I’m literally dozing off while writing this, and I’ve  lost the ability to type properly.

7am

Is it daytime? Am I imagining birds tweeting?

Had to have a tactical desk nap for half an hour, I hope I wasn’t snoring..

100 MORE WORDS TO GO. Let’s not think about proof-reading and referencing. This was a terrible idea.

8.30 am

Had another desk nap. Have now finished my essay but still need to proof read it and write the bibliography, something I’m not sure I’m clear-minded enough to do at the moment. Would be happier but am too exhausted.

People are starting to arrive for a day at the library, presumably having had a proper nights’ sleep at home. That must be nice.

Geographers are still dissertationing away with a mere few hours to go. Poor guys.

 9.45am

Halellujah

Halellujah

Well, here we are. It literally took 24 hours.

Thank you to all who came and brought me treats and hugs and kind words of encouragements, and my heart goes out to those still working on their dissertations as I leave the library.

This was a pretty horrific experience that I never plan on repeating again.

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