Late night is not the best for study time

Rex Santus


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As school gets more stressful, students are stocking up on coffee and energy shots to prepare for nights filled with studying.

The all-nighter, as it is known, is a sleepless night devoted entirely to studying for exams or completing coursework.

“I usually stay up all night two to three times per week,” said Leah Dwight, sophomore fashion merchandising major. “If I don’t stay up, I’m not going to get everything done.”

For Dwight and many other college students, there are not enough hours in the day to socialize, study, finish homework and get a full night’s sleep.

“I’m a procrastinator,” Dwight said. “I procrastinate because I’d rather do certain things than homework all the time.”

Dwight, an active member of the Greek community, said she devotes much of her time to her social life.

Katherine Rawson, associate professor of psychology at Kent State, said it is common for students to procrastinate and “cram” before an exam. She said she does not believe this is a good approach to studying.

“There is research to suggest that with cramming, you will probably do okay on an exam later that day, but the problem is it is very, very bad for long-term retention,” Rawson said. “It will be enough to squeak by on your exam, but you’re really not going to remember or retain a lot of what you’ve learned.”

Dwight agreed all-nighters are not worthwhile for long-term knowledge.

“I’ll leave an exam, and I’ll have no idea what I’ve written down half the time,” Dwight said. “I end up getting a decent grade, but I won’t remember it later.”

Rawson said all-nighters would become less frequent with better planning.

“Suppose you have four hours to work with — you could spend all four hours cramming the night before, sure,” Rawson said. “Another choice would be to spend those four hours in four one-hour chunks on different days. You’d do just as well on the exam, but the icing on the cake is you’re also going to remember the information long afterwards.”

All-nighters are not always the result of procrastination and poor planning.

Nick Slaughterbeck, junior architecture major, said he spends nights in the architecture studio perfecting his work.

“I only got two hours of sleep last night,” Slaughterbeck said. “An architecture professor will tell you that you shouldn’t have to pull all-nighters, but the fact of the matter is if … you’re an architecture major, you’re going to pull all-nighters.”

Haley Drogus, junior fashion merchandising major, said she loses sleep completing projects assigned last-minute.

“I’m taking the full amount of credit hours, and a lot of my classes have exams and projects to do all the time and with little warning,” Drogus said. “It all ends up piling up.”

Students use various methods to stay awake, especially during those tiresome hours, which Slaughterbeck has dubbed “the 4 a.m. stretch.”

“I drink lots of coffee,” Dwight said. “Basically any caffeine I can get my hands on.”

Drogus said 30-minute naps also help her to get through the night.

“If you take more than a 30-minute nap, it makes you even more tired,” Drogus said. “But if you take a 15- to 30-minute nap, it wakes you up.”

Though some students believe they have mastered the all-nighter, Rawson said she believes students are selling themselves short.

“You guys are paying all this money for this education, and you want to walk away from it having actually learned something,” Rawson said. “You are here to acquire knowledge that’s going to be useful for your career and for the real world, not to forget everything you’ve learned immediately after you take a test.”

Contact Rex Santus at [email protected].