So, 4 years into my university degree, 21 years into my life, I have finally experienced my first all-nighter ever. And, if I have anything to do with it, my last all-nighter ever.
I had about 9 days to write a 2,500 word essay on a very broad essay title. I submitted it at 7 am of the day it was due (at 2pm), after a horrendous night. I do not exaggerate (maybe a little) when I say it was hands down the worst night of my entire existence thus far. And I wasn’t even that pleased with the final product.
The thing is, I am not a last minute kind of person. I like to work slowly and pace myself because I don’t work quickly or as efficiently as I would like.
I went through GCSEs, A-levels and 3 years of uni without pulling an all-nighter. Sure, I do actually find it difficult to go to bed before 1 am most days, and I have actually gone to bed at 7 am in the holidays, but spending hours on Netflix is not the same as having to write an essay on a topic you do not care about to meet a deadline you wish did not exist for a degree you’re not even sure you want anymore. Ok, maybe not the last bit.
So, just to dissect where things went wrong, so I never have to pull an all-nighter ever again:
- I didn’t start immediately. I started three days after I recieved the assignment. Three days I probably could have done with. I just procrastinated too long.
- I over-estimated what 2,500 words was, which meant that I ended up with close to 4,000 and had to cut some out.
- I also did too much research and read too many studies. More than I could actually put into the essay because, again, 2,500 words is not as much as I thought it was.
- I should have written the essay in sections as I went along, instead of all at the end, once I had finished all my research. It would have given me a better idea of how much I could actually fit in.
- Caffeine. The one bottle of Pepsi we had in the fridge was a non-caffeine version. This did not help. I was super sleepy and I do not like coffee.
To be fair to myself though, I’ve never really had such little time for a deadline before. My first three years of medical school did not include much in the way of assignments or deadlines and so, it is going to take some getting used to having regular deadlines as part of my BSc.
Here’s to hoping our course leads forget to give us our next essay…