Ah, the first college all-nighter. The first caffeine-fueled panic attacks during which evenings melt into mornings without a blink of an eye (mostly because you taped your eyelids open). The first of many nights filled with more self-pitying thoughts than all the years of puberty combined. It’s truly a mystery that rapper Asher Roth left these evenings out when he wrote “I Love College.”

It wasn’t supposed to come to this. Schedules had been made. Timetables had been drawn. The philosophy essay could be tackled. The Spanish work could be completed. And yet, somehow, after 46 nights of somewhat consistent sleep at the University, I had finally made it to the first all-nighter of my college career.

Like many problems developed during the college years, the first stage of my all-nighter began like a line out of an Alcoholics Anonymous handbook: denial. “I don’t need to stay up,” I thought to myself as the clock struck one. “I can finish my homework, no problem.”Twenty minutes later, I found myself passed out, drooling on the keyboard, with a half-completed Sporcle game the sole fruit of my labor. Feeling defeated and marginally disgusting, I ventured downstairs to the Madrigal Lounge in East Quad, hoping that a change of scenery could give the boost I needed.

Maybe it’s like this in every residence hall (yeah, right), but the occupants of East Quad are truly weirdos. The most bizarre nightlife scene at the University isn’t late-night Quidditch matches in the Diag or outside of Necto — it’s the parade of night-crawlers, insomniacs and Adderall addicts that fill residence hall lounges on Tuesday evenings.

There’s the nerdy couple that’s more into their calculators than each other, toiling away at their Calc 4 homework that’s not due for another three weeks. Or the girl tucked away in a corner, blubbering on the phone to her high school boyfriend with sobs so strong it’s nearly impossible to tell if she’s even speaking English. And then there are the poor sexiled souls who spend their evenings either watching “Glee” on their laptops or crashing on the stained couches.

But, of course, the main stars of the 3 a.m. show are the procrastinators — those who spend more time planning out how to do homework instead of actually doing it. Swearing to anyone awake that they work best after Leno is over, they attempt to regain a shred of sanity by taking solace in nature. “This isn’t so bad,” they think to themselves. “Bear Grylls said you should see the sunrise at least once in your life, right?” Be careful, however, when identifying a student with a delayed sense of motivation. Often the best procrastinators — those with twitching hands and blood-shot eyes that you develop from chugging two Red Bulls — are confused with flat-out stoners who simply sit in the lounge because: a) they can’t find their room or b) they believe that they’re being incepted and cannot leave the general area until Leonardo DiCaprio comes to the rescue.

At any rate, these excursions into the Twilight Zones of college life aren’t experienced fully until the shuffle to the 9 a.m. class, a.k.a. the lecture from hell. If you think it’s hard pulling yourself out of bed on a normal Wednesday morning, try doing it after you spend the majority of Tuesday evening blasting Avril Lavigne ballads as you slave away at a paper analyzing the Mexican Drug Wars.

As it turns out, those ugly evenings transition into the ugliest of mornings. After my first all-nighter, I found myself getting odd stares from my classmates during my Spanish lecture. Later, an amigo told me I had been twitching and drooling all over my workbook as I kept a steady gaze at the fluorescent lights above me. I wasn’t ostracized by my peers, thank God, though I did later find pamphlets for rehabilitation clinics wedged under my door.

An annoyingly correct devil’s advocate may argue that anyone with even a smidgen of organizational skills can avoid burning the midnight oil if she simply does the work instead of watching reruns of “The Office,” filling out Facebook notes or creating fake user profiles on eHarmony.com. But all-nighters aren’t merely evenings of cramming and panicking — it’s an experience to see a part of the world that no one else really sees on a regular basis. It may not be beautiful. It may not be fun, and it may not be…

Sorry, I dosed off. Good thing I waited until 5 a.m. to start this column. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go catch some of The Today Show before I hit the sack.

Melanie Kruvelis can be reached at melkruv@umich.edu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.