All-Nighters get a Makeover

Eleanor Metcalf 3 May 2014

Unfortunately, the advent of exam term means that most of us will only be staying up all night for the purposes of revision rather than hedonistic partying (not that Cambridge sees too much of that in Michaelmas or Lent either). But just because it’s work doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! With some creative thinking and dedication, even a late-night work stint can be made (almost) enjoyable.

Location is the easiest and most obvious thing to liven up. Sitting in your damp, slightly mouldy college room staring at the blank wall behind your desk does not a productive work session make. Feng-shui your room to get the fun started! And we’re not talking a few posters or a bed throw – you really need to go all out. Buy some oversized pot plants to give your room an exotic jungle feel (or if you’re on a tight budget, dig up some shrubs from your college garden under cover of darkness). Alternatively, if you’re missing Cindies, buy a disco-ball and make yourself a cheesy 90s playlist. You can even spend your revision breaks practising your dance moves, albeit without the crush of sweaty strangers which is a staple of all Cambridge clubs.

Music is next. The work playlist is a sadly underused weapon in the all-nighter’s arsenal. Everyone knows that, as with a physical workout, upbeat music works wonders for motivation – but don’t just settle for an hour-long house mix you found on YouTube: match your playlists to your work. Subject-themed music is always a winner: revising Shakespeare? Try listening to some sixteenth-century classical music. Writing a French essay? Put on some Edith Piaf. Studying algebra? There must be some maths- related songs out there somewhere… Failing that, try initiating a spontaneous sing-along in the library, à la High School Musical. At that time of night there won’t even be any librarians around to stop you.

Rule-breaking keeps things spicy. Night-time is the time to break all the library rules, in fact. Just a few suggestions of ways to liven up your work session: order Domino’s to the library; lay out a picnic on an empty table and eat it ostentatiously; do sprints up and down the main corridor to stimulate your blood-flow; finally make a move on Fit Library Guy/ Girl who you’ve been surreptitiously staring at all term; wear fancy dress, just because; make a giant Jenga tower out of books during one of your breaks. The more people you can coerce into participating, the better, because you know what they say: the more the merrier.