By Brooks Whitehurst
Fellow students, brothers, sisters, people wearing sweatpants and trying to type that last word with a caffeine-shaky hand, let’s just all agree that pulling all nighters is really just not fun, possibly the opposite of fun. It is the dreaded anti-fun.
The sole reason for my heightened awareness on the topic is that I write this column on the heels of my first all-nighter. I’m in my fourth year of college and I just pulled my first all-nighter (I know, please hold your applause), and my goodness — it was awful.
Around 4 a.m. I started having to read the sentences of the paper I was writing about four times over in order to understand them, and so at that sad juncture I tacitly decided to let my brain wander down the rabbit trail that had been distracting me since 3 a.m.
Why was I doing this? Why does any student ever do this?
I started making a list in my mind of the circumstances that cause students to have to deprive their body of a necessity of life.
Maybe you have a test, a test you didn’t do the reading for and here you are trying to catch up at 3:38 a.m, or maybe you have to write a paper and didn’t end up starting until midnight.
Maybe you gravely underestimated how long that paper was going to take to write.
Maybe you have midterms or finals, or maybe you valued fun maybe a little too much and are now reaping the consequences of the aforementioned dreaded anti-fun.
Or, maybe you procrastinated.
Procrastination; I think its the cause of most every all-nighter ever. Instead of spending six hours the night before writing my paper, what I should have done was better prepare for what I was writing, and then spend two to three hours Saturday and Sunday nights writing a much better planned and cohesive essay.
Why is that so easy to realize after the fact though? It’s not like I couldn’t have made that plan before hand and then carried it out. Honestly, I kind of did, just without the whole carrying it out part. I knew on Saturday night and Sunday night that I needed to work on this paper, and yet there I was at 12 a.m. on Tuesday morning having only typed the first sentence.
As students, I think we’re all very aware of the best course of action to get our work done, but more often than not that course of action isn’t realized.
At the risk of losing your attention at this point by diving into some deep society issues, I think all-nighters are the result of a flawed mindset. I know I said that procrastination was the cause of every all-nighter, but what causes procrastination? I propose that we’ve been blinded by immediate gratification.
As a society, and even more so as a generation we have grown to place a frighteningly high value on getting the things that we want on an immediate basis. If you don’t believe me just consider the last time you were trying to load Buzzfeed, and Grande’s regular internet failure (which is about as faithful as the rising sun) caused you to have to wait more than 30 seconds for the page to load.
So, why do we procrastinate? In many cases I think it’s because our desire to experience fun in the ‘right now’ blinds our ability to see that doing so causes more suffering in the long run.
“No, my paper won’t take that long, just 5 more minutes watching this asinine ‘you poked my heart’ Youtube video,” said me, just last night.
Obviously the issue of our immediate gratification mindset is one that takes more than a simple newspaper column to resolve, but I implore you fellow Bears, don’t do the all-nighter. You will regret it. Plan ahead, and don’t procrastinate.
Combatting such a detrimental mindset can begin with making simple small decisions to be diligent and make the long-term decision rather than the short-term decision.
Brooks Whitehurst is a junior journalism major from Longview. He is a reporter for the Lariat.