A procrastinator’s nightmare: I stayed inside in the library for 24 hours straight

The most productive 24 hours ever or the worst decision of my life?

We’re crawling through the last few weeks of Lent term, and it’s got to that point where everyone is huddling in the library with a mountain of work to catch up on and several essays to worry over. And I am no exception. Due to one thing or another I’ve found myself in week 19 with several deadlines looming and countless reading to catch up on. As an off-campus student, the library is my safe haven and sometimes the only place I am physically capable of doing any work. I remember fondly the luxury of living on campus in my first year when I could simply walk a few minutes back to my accommodation in the middle of the night when I was done with work.

Therefore, I’ve decided to avoid the problem of getting home altogether and stay in the library for a full 24 hours without stepping one foot outside. Something which will either turn out to be endlessly productive, or a terrible decision resulting in me being stranded on campus in the middle of the night.

In preparation

The night before taking on this big task I prepared extremely well by getting a solid five hours of sleep before rushing onto campus for my 9am lecture. Before actually entering the library I had to make a detour via Sultans – essential fuel after a night out but also turned out to be a great study session pregame. Following this was the starting point for any halfway decent trip to the library: visiting Spar to stock up on some snacks.

As fate would have it, today was one of Lancaster’s rarer warm and sunny days, so I strolled along the Spine and bid farewell to the lovely sunshine as I ventured into the dark depths of the library for the next 24 hours.

Throughout the afternoon

I started off on the A floor by the square, which is the spot for people who don’t want to do their work but want to look like they’re trying. Perfect. The afternoon was willed away watching students enjoy the sunshine in the square whilst I was trapped in my self-imposed prison. Just as most afternoons in the library, it was pretty unproductive, but I did at least send a few emails. But the spot was excellent as I could people-watch.

Into the evening

At the point, the delusion of my task had absolutely begun to set it. I retreated the the B floor extension which is definitely the vibiest spot to work in. But, as we all know the reading room is the best place to be if you want to get some serious work done. The crushing social pressure to do coursework when every keyboard tap and crisp-packet-rustle echoes like a drum is immense. Not that anyone was there to care at 12am however. I actually started to get my head down with dissertation-planning as the hours slowly ticked away.

Middle of the night

11 hours into this task, I seriously started to lose my mind. At this point, I began scrolling through Instagram stories of everyone at Sugar and realised I had in fact made a grave mistake in choosing to do this today. You only get so many chances to get blasted at a social on a weekday, and I can’t believe I spent one of those opportunities on the C floor instead. I desperately tried to engage myself in any work possible, as I was in serious danger of falling asleep and being booted out by the library security.

Early morning

By this point, I had waited out all the hardcore studiers and I genuinely felt like one of the only people in the whole building. I honestly wasn’t sure if I found the absolute silence and occasional echoing footsteps scary or peaceful. It’s amazing how fast time goes between 3am and 6am, and before I knew it, the early risers were trickling into the library to begin another day of studying again like clockwork.

At the finish line

The last few hours of ‘work’ consisted of watching hungover students crawl out from the underpass to go to their 9ams. Finally, after a whopping 24 hours, and watching only a few lectures, doing some minimal dissertation planning and making one half-completed essay plan, I was finished! Honestly, I’m not sure I would recommend doing this to anyone else, the library is open twenty-four hours for a reason, but I don’t think that means you should aim to study for all of these at once.

One thing is for sure, I certainly have no plans to return to the library for at least the next three to five working days.

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