By Jose Castillo, Campus Cowboy
Every once in a while, my uncanny ability to procrastinate is met with a tidal wave of work and due dates, accumulating into what I like to think of as a perfect storm. Obviously, if it’s irresponsibility that got me into such a mess, the only way to get out of the predicament is to undertake the most irresponsible plan of action possible: pull an all-nighter. Maybe after being deprived of much-needed sleep, I can convince myself two wrongs do, in fact, make a right.
My latest all-nighter came after I didn’t start an assignment for my discrete structures class until the night before. This assignment focused on encryption, and each question was simply a series of numbers that, after being decoded, would reveal a secret message. It was actually a fairly easy task, except for the last problem, with which I had a bit of an issue.
Since I’m an expert at dealing with such emergency situations, I conducted a study on how all-nighters play out. I’ve concluded that many of them follow the same patterns as the stages of grief, developed by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Here are my findings:
In this stage, the student deludes themself into believing that leaving the assignment to the last minute was an acceptable decision, and therefore they will probably complete it quickly and thoroughly.
Oh wow, this discrete structures homework is actually pretty easy. I should be done in no time – only one message left to decode!
Here, after working for much longer than expected, the student becomes enraged, as frustration, embarrassment and shame take hold.
Are you kidding me? This decoded message makes no sense at all! I can’t believe this! This is complete bulls***!
Much like in denial, the student deludes themself into thinking that if they can get out of the all-nighter with their sanity intact, they will never leave such an assignment to the last minute.
That’s it – I’m turning my life around! No more YouTube! I’m deleting all social media! I’m going to complete all my assignments the day that they are assigned. Yeah, I’m totally going to commit to this!
After experiencing the rollercoaster of emotions, the student becomes mentally exhausted, and sadness typically overcomes.
All of my high school teachers were right. I am a complete and utter failure and will amount to nothing more than just a waste of space.
Finally, the student not only accepts that they might not be going to sleep that night, but that they also may not be cut out to be a college student.
Screw it! Nothing matters! This assignment made me a nihilist! I don’t care what grade I get on this, I’m just going to drop out anyways! Yeah, that’ll show them! I don’t need a degree! Cowboys don’t need degrees! Bill Gates didn’t need a degree! I not going to be product of the Man – I’m no sellout!
Once sunlight began to pour into my room, I realized that the worksheet had a backside. An instruction stated that the last message was written in French, which meant the message I considered undecipherable was just in a different language. I guess the fact that I did have the correct answer the whole night should have irritated me, but I was just relieved I had completed the assignment.
So I entered the phrase into Google Translate, and the result shocked me more than anything else that night: La vie est belle = Life is beautiful.
I read somewhere that staying up all night leads to mood swings and uncontrollable fits of anger, but my study doesn’t support that hypothesis.
Also, to all my readers out there, be sure to check out yours truly in an upcoming crime log; apparently, your Resident Assistant has to call the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution if you throw a computer out of your dorm room window.