Students Describe Their Worst All-Nighters
woman sitting on bed with MacBook on lap
Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash

Students Describe Their Worst All-Nighters

Emma Booth February 28, 2022

The humble all-nighter. We all know the feeling. Nothing compares to knowing that you’ve had six weeks to submit and chosen to wake up the day before the deadline with an empty document. 

Some choose to make excuses, ‘I work best under stress’. Yeah right, you absolutely despise yourself now and have committed to drinking instant coffee all night, bedroom illuminated by an overworked laptop. 

Following this, it only seems fit to hear of some horror stories regarding the worst work induced all-nighters. I’ve spoken to four students who are willing to share their stories. 

Holly*, 23, London, BA Graphics

It’s 1am on May the 22nd and the one thing I promised myself I wouldn’t do, I’ve done. My three years of studying have led up to now; something I’d like to refer to as the ‘six-hour breakdown’ which leads up to the 7am deadline. 

I’m sat at the dining room table of my student house in South London, surrounded by academic anarchy. The stench of fags and regret waft past my MacBook and Aldi’s finest empty vodka bottles judge me as they sit next to the bins. 

I look at my housemate, tears flood his eyes as I try to be the strong protagonist in this self-induced nightmare. 

In conclusion, I got a 2:1 in Graphic Design and managed to maintain a social life even to the very end. Would I recommend? Absolutely. 

Tom*, 21, Manchester, BA Maths

It’s 8pm on a Sunday, I’m at the pub trying to ‘hair of the dog’ my way into Monday. All of a sudden a message comes in from a dreaded source. It’s the maths group chat. 

“How do I do part iv of the coding project?!”

I’ve been hearing about this coding project for a few weeks but had put the procrastination blinkers on. 

As it turns out, it was due tomorrow morning and I don’t have a computer which can run the needed program. The only remaining option is the dingy computer cluster in the PTSD-inducing first year halls. 

Two Ritalin’s and a few cans later it’s deadline time. I am nowhere near finished, my sleep schedule is ruined and I have nothing to show for it. Brain rattling, I make a walk of shame back home to the house for much needed sleep. It’s safe to say I failed that module. 

Allegra*, 23, London, BA Journalism

I started my all-nighter by going to the pub. It was around 7pm when I had my first pint. By telling myself that lager is basically juice, I didn’t think it would make any real difference to my writing ability. If anything, I thought it might help.

I forgot to mention it was Thirsty Thursday at the local student bar. Before you know it, everyone was slinging back tequila and necking on, while I was in the corner, viciously typing with tears in my eyes. 

Naturally by 12am I couldn’t see the screen. I got a 2:2. 

Steve* 23, Buckinghamshire, BA Illustration

It was the final submission at the end of my degree. I’d been given two extensions and still left everything to the last minute. I sat in bed shaking, surrounded by a mound of rubbish; I was so delirious I’d stopped using my bin. 

That night was the worst night of my life. I contemplated taking a five-minute nap but thought if I didn’t wake up, death would be my only option.

Following this, I broke down to my mum, waited until the last five hours to photograph my final project and ended up missing the deadline by 20 minutes. Total chaos.

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Having graduated from UAL in 2021 with a degree in Magazine Journalism and Publishing, Emma Booth is a writer, wannabe publisher, occasional art-maker and full time twenty-something. (edited)