All-nighters, while tragic, happen to every Terp. Miserable, sleepless sessions in McKeldin are simply part of college life. After years of studying the phenomenon, leading psychology undergrads have coined the five stages of pulling an all-nighter: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. (They pulled several all-nighters in the course of their research.) While not everyone experiences these stages in the same order; they serve as useful guidelines for mapping your own emotional and mental state.
This stage can commence up to two weeks before you actually pull the all-nighter. Symptoms generally appear the moment you receive a difficult assignment. “I’ll manage my time well. I’ll do a little work every day,” you tell yourself. The ridiculousness of these lies increases exponentially as time goes on. “Psh, there’s still time to do it. I’ll start tomorrow, I swear,” you think. “I’ll just watch one more episode of “Breaking Bad” . . . it still counts as work as long as Elms is open, right?”
This stage usually begins just as you actually start working on the assignment. Said anger is usually directed at a variety of targets, including the professor, the assignment, yourself, and the universe as a whole. “Why is this happening to me?” you ask yourself. “It’s ridiculous that I’m paying thousands of dollars to torture myself like this. The universe clearly doesn’t care about my sanity and I QUIT.” (Anger often overlaps with Denial.) Medical experts generally prescribe weed, playing with puppies, or dropping out of school to get past this stage.
Bargaining is a Terp’s last, feeble defense against facing reality. Invoking a higher power, such as God or Testudo, signifies a desperate desire to regain control over the situation. “If I can just get an hour of sleep,” you think to yourself. “I swear I won’t be this stupid again. I would trade my soul and our football team’s chances at winning in exchange for another day to work on this—oh, wait, football season is over. Damn, I really do need some sleep.” This stage can also take a more literal form here at Maryland: there is actually a direct correlation between the size of Testudo’s offerings and the student’s desired grade.
“I’m really not getting any sleep tonight, am I? Oh, God, I miss my bed. I hate my life,” you cry aloud. “What’s the point of it all?” The best-known symptom of pulling an all-nighter, depression is usually characterized by loss in energy, increased appetite, and loud, hysterical weeping in McKeldin. As difficult as this stage is, it is the most necessary part of the all-nighter process. Students often react by self-medicating with junk food or caffeine. Such measures, while offering temporary relief, usually only exacerbate the condition. “How did I eat an entire bag of Doritos?” you ask yourself. “I hate myself.”
This stage generally occurs as the student watches the sun slowly rise through the few windows of McKeldin, turns in their assignment, and blissfully collapses for a well-deserved nap. “That sucked,” you admit to yourself. “But at least I finished.” Unfortunately, not every student is able to reach this stage. This inability to accept the all-night can stem from a variety of factors, including emotional instability, failure to finish the assignment, or no time to take that nap. May God help their poor souls.
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