It is 4:48am and rather than write my paper on the commensurability (or lack thereof) of paradigms in scientific revolution (don’t lie, I just impressed the hell out of you*), I am here writing this article. It is late. I want to sleep. I want to sleep more than basically anything – in this moment, I want a solid nine hours more than I want Jason Segel to serenade me with “Man or Muppet,” more than I want James Franco to make a bizarre (yet endearing!) iPhone camera exposè on how wonderful I am, more than I want to eat a candlelight dinner with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am reaching the climax of my all-nighter (which is far less exciting and climactic than it sounds) and sleep feels so very far away.
You’ve probably been here. I see you smiling slightly at your computer screen, relating to my conundrum and tempted to continue reading this article. Continue, my sympathetic friend. (If you do not relate to pulling an all-nighter, I urge you to add me on Facebook so we can discuss all the ways in which you are vastly superior to me. On second thought, don’t do that. I can already tell you’re the kind of person on Facebook I’d scoff at when your cocky “No work tonight!!! Going to Urth ” statuses come into my feed).
Though this article would probably be the third funniest thing you read/see today if I just analyzed the process of The All-Nighter, I’m aiming real high here at now 4:53am. I want this to be the funniest thing you read in the next three hours. (As such, I ask that you just read this, wait three hours then proceed to read other people trying to make you laugh – or at least smile. Smile once please).
There are three things I consider myself an expert on:puppy gifs, being single, and overcoming procrastination with flying colors at the very last minute (i.e. pulling all-nighters). Two of these are highly relevant to the next two or three minutes of your life. You see, all-nighters and being perpetually single have a remarkably similar cycle of stages (which I’ll kind of discuss at the beginning, but stop talking about halfway through!)
Stage I: Confidence and Beauty (i.e. Delusion)
My delusion is clear: me feeling confident while studying vs. Natalie feeling confident while studying
Beauty here is a relative term, as I am usually wearing an oversized Hanes sweatshirt and sweatpants at the beginning of my all-nighters. Despite this, I have the confidence of a bright and shining star. Compared to what I’ll feel like in six hours, I’m like Jessica Chastain at the Academy Awards. Or this picture (which makes me want to cry). Plus, I hear – from several wise women/Tumblr reblogs – that beauty comes from within. I start all-nighters confident as hell. I got this. I’ve done it before I’ll do it again. Being single is the exact same thing. When I last became single in 2009, I cried for two days and then was all, “Wait, I spent seventeen years doing this, it’ll be okay.” Three years later, it’s still okay. I’m not totallysure that I can attribute that to confidence or just the fact that I care a lot less about being single than I make it sound in the articles I write. REGARDLESS, for the sake of the first half of this study, I care about my relationship status a lot. When I’m at this stage in my singleness cycle of feelings, I’m more than fine with not dealing with cootie-laden boyz. (Uh, I couldhave a boyfriend, I just don’t want one!!!) And when I’m at Stage I of the all-nighter, I promise myself I’ll be done in like, three hours. I’m a pro – duh.
Stage II: Responsible Procrastination (i.e. More Delusion)
Mmmm, my favorite stage. Just as I’m about to begin my paper (interchangeable with “flirt with a boy” or “admit to my crush that I’m harboring feelings for him”)– I have an epiphany! Wow, my room is so messy! I should clean it! If my room is clean**, I decide to do the responsible thing and go workout. Yes, even if it’s 1:30am. I’ll just take care of the paper (/remedy my singleness) later! And I skip off to the gym.
Stage III: Questioning Everything and Rediscovering Youtube (i.e. Facing Reality)
Post-cleaning/workout (and most likely a cleansing shower), my self-deluded Natalie Portman-ness begins to fade, which I attribute to having taken my contacts out about an hour ago to “make myself more comfortable.” My thesis – which about forty minutes ago, I read like an excerpt from a Pulitzer Prize winning novel – sucks. Wow, it sucks so hard. How did I even get into college? Did someone accidently admit me? I don’t understandanything that’s going on in the class – I’m probably the only one. I’m such an idiot. How did I think I could pull this off in a night? Ugh, there’s only one thing that will cheer me up. Didn’t someone post a video on my Wall the other day?
(About every twenty-eight days, I question everything about myself as a human being. “NO WONDER NO ONE WANTS TO BE WITH YOU,” I think as I get tangled up in my own headphones, spend two hours reading about the Illuminati or watch five Parks and Recreationepisodes in a row. I then go to a mirror – which is the biggest mistake any 19-year-old girl can make at this Stage – and feverishly glare at myself until I remember puppy videos on Youtube.)
Eventually, I’ve gone from watching puppy videos to being engrossed in fan videos by thirteen-year-old girls tracking the genesis of Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber’s relationship. I have never by choice listened to music by either of those individuals. How did I get here… Curse you, Youtube.
Stage IV: Loneliness and Self-Loathing (i.e. Really Facing Reality)
For some reason, just as I close the Youtube windows, the literal coldness of my living room seeps in. Being cold makes me feel lonely. And single. And hopeless on my all-nighter quest. It’s like I’m fighting my own inability to study/write an essay with almost freezing temperatures. This is not helped by the fact that my tolerance for cold has been destroyed since moving to Los Angeles. If it’s below 70 degrees, I’m shivering. Instead of walking the four steps to my bedroom, I wrap myself in a fluffy blanket and struggle to stay warm and type simultaneously.
(Owning this would make everything much more comfortable and stylish. I might even feel as confident as Natalie again)
My perpetual struggle to write anything decent/keep warm/overcome my laziness and go and get a hoodie leads to moments of intense self-loathing. My conscience does its best scary mobster voice and is all, “Cailin, why? Why didn’t you start a week ago? Two days ago? Five hours ago? Why don’t you go turn on the heat? Why did you spend an hour cleaning your room? Why couldn’t you let the puppy videos wait?” I DON’T KNOW.
Stage V: Eating and Napping (i.e. Reverting to Infancy)
At this point, I have spent five minutes typing a nonsensical outline and now I’m really proud of myself. I’d continue writing – I really would – it’s just that my eyes are struggling to keep themselves open. My stomach rumbles. You know what just might help me stay awake? Food!
Of course, it being 6am at this point, I am in no position to pull the strawberries out of my fridge. Not when there are boxes of Girl Scout cookies to devour. Oh wait, there’s leftover birthday cake too?
A temptress at a very young age.
Two thousand calories later, I feel sleepier. You know what? I’ve earned a nap. I set six alarms out of paranoia and let myself nap for about forty-five minutes.
(I also do this about once every other week on Friday/Saturday nights. You know, when most people are finding tRu RoMaNcE on the Row/Menlo).
The pinnacle of attractiveness.
Stage VI: Regretting Stage V and Starting Work (i.e. What Stage I Should Be)
As the sixth alarm wakes me up about twenty minutes later than I intended, I reflect on the last seven hours of my life, roll my eyes at my own predictability, and finally start to write. The nap was refreshing. I work for about twenty solid minutes until I find myself…
Stage VII: Hitting the wall
A combination of previous hunger, self-loathing, and exhaustion resurfaces. I will myself to continue typing, but probably eat/nap/internally yell at myself instead. This stage repeats itself until the assignment is done – probably nine hours after I started.
Congratulations, you did it! You earned yourself a fight with the Gateway concierge over the broken printers and a frantic run to campus, seeking a place to print! Now enjoy your full day of classes and look forward to the five or six hours of sleep you may or may not get tonight!
Oh yeah – you’re still single!
*Unless you are a Philosophy major. Sorry, I am a novice’s novice in this department.
**My room is never clean. I just sometimes don’t feel like trying to remedy this.