Stages of Pulling an All-Nighter

Written By: Tiana

The all-nighter: you’ve either been through one, or you’ve heard the horror stories.  I’ve had my share of all-nighters myself, and if there’s one thing that I’ve noticed about them it’s that there is a very specific pattern that they follow — from the lead-up straight through to the aftermath.  If you’ve pulled one, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, you’re about to find out, as I’ve taken the time to dissect an all-nighter and reveal to you the stages of pulling one.

1. Procrastination

This is the first step if you are going to pull an all-nighter because they only happen when you have spent way too much time napping, watching Netflix, or working on other assignments. If only you had planned this out properly, balanced your schedule, and managed your course work, you may have managed to avoid this moment. But alas, here we are.


2. Denial

At this point, it’s early on in the day. You still have over 24 hours before your assignment is due. You convince yourself that you won’t need that much time. All is well… you think.


3. Optimism

Okay. Now is the time to get cracking! You finally sit down to get this thing done. You tell yourself that you’ve left just the perfect amount of time to complete this. Things are looking good. The future is bright. You might even get a few hours of sleep tonight.


4. Acceptance

You actually start working on the assignment and you slowly realize that you’ve got way too much work to do. There are not enough hours left in the day/night to get both the assignment done and get a decent night’s sleep, so you make the painful decision to sacrifice one. And in this case, it’s sleep.


5. Planning

You break down all of the components of the assignment and figure out exactly how much time you can afford to spend on each part. You prioritize the components in order of difficulty, which ones you need to be most coherent for, or which ones are worth the largest percentage of your grade. You’ve loaded up on snacks, coffee, and energy drinks. You are ready to face the night.


6. Homework Party!

Let’s make this fun! You team up with your buddies that are also in that class and are in the same unfortunate situation as you, and you decide to make the best of it! You get together, whether in person, on Skype, or over the phone, you get the music blasting, and everyone’s got a great sense of camaraderie.


7. Caffeine Rush

It’s coffee time! You start fuelling up on the caffeine. It going to be a long night!


8. The Shakes

The caffeine sets in. It has taken hold of your body. You’re uncontrollably trembling from head to toe, which definitely isn’t lowering your anxiety over the fast approaching deadline.   


9. Delirium

The lack of sleep has finally caught up with you and you’ve reached the state where you lose all coherence in thought and process. You’re laughing hysterically, crying a little, all while in this delirious state where nothing makes sense anymore. You’ve lost it.


10. Caffeine Crash  

The caffeine has worn off and you’re finding yourself getting a little drowsy…


11. Just Resting My Eyelids for 5 Seconds…

Exhaustion has finally sunk in. You tell yourself you’ll just close your eyes for a few quick seconds.



YOU FELL ASLEEP FOR A WHOLE 15 MINUTES!!! You’ll never get back that precious time! Your carefully allotted time slots are ruined, so it’s time to scramble!


13. Giving Up

All hope is lost. Not enough hours left. This assignment is impossible. Abort mission.


14. Calculations

Do you really need to hand in this assignment? Okay, yes you do. Now you begin calculating how many marks you need on this assignment in order to still pass the course. And if it’s a really rough night, the calculations extend into how late marks would affect your final grade.


15. Pep Talk

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You got this! You can do it! You only need to get a 60% on this one assignment to stay at a 75% overall grade.


16. Get ‘Er Done

Time is almost up. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there’s still considerable work to be done. You push aside all the tears, calculations, coffee, and snacks, and just GET THIS THING DONE!!


17. Relief and Pride

It’s done. You did it. Everything is finished and submitted. It feels like the weight of the world has just been lifted off your shoulders. The sense of pride and accomplishment parallels that of mountain climbers who have just reach the summit of Mount Everest.


18. Sleep (Finally)


Your body now shuts down and you fall soundly asleep for 12 hours to make up for all the pain, suffering, and misery.


19. Never Again…

You feel scarred by the experience that was the last 48 hours. You swear to yourself that you will never pull another all-nighter ever again for the remained of your existence on this Earth. You start making to-do lists and organizing the work for your upcoming assignments. You are going to be 100% on top of things from now on. No more distractions and procrastination. But maybe you’ll do that after just one more cat video…