The Six Year Plan - All Nighters

Dear Reader,

As a designer, there comes a time when shit needs to just get done. You have deadlines, you have teachers to impress, and you have peers to look better than. That's just life. Unfortunately, as human beings, procrastination always, and will always, over power any of these desires. And so the "All Nighter" came into being: the designers right of passage.

There is something you need to understand: an all nighter will never take you by surprise. The inevitability of one happening makes itself known days before the actual event. I will do my best to describe the stages leading up to the glorified All Nighter.

Monday: The day starts and progresses pretty much as it normally would. You go into studio and work on whatever project you know is due Friday. After getting a substantial amount of work done, you call it quits, and go home. You underestimate the workload, and the procrastination begins.

Tuesday: Again, life as usual. Since studio doesn't meet on Tuesday, you go out of your way to spend a couple hours working. You make some progress, but it isn't anything really substantial. You sense a tension in the air; you hear the wind whisper "good luck" as you think to yourself "I'm not going to make it." The All Nighter is on the docket. Inception.

Wednesday: This is the last studio session before the project is due on Friday. This is your last guaranteed chance to meet with possible group members, talk with the teacher, and seek peer advice. Productivity is at an all time high; you feel inspired, not because you're invested in the work you've been slaving over for weeks, but more so because you want to avoid the All Nighter at all costs. Sadly, though, no matter how hard you work, the gods have already decided your fate. You commit, and start laying out the game plan.

Thursday: It isn't unheard of to skip class all day on Thursday and work in studio. Getting this project done becomes your life. Food? Sleep? Bathroom Breaks? Don't think so. Just work and work and work, and if anyone gets in your way, you need to Regulate. Let's break Thursday down, piece by piece:

12:00 PM - 6:00 PM: Productivity is high and constant. You feel energized. Studio is filled with your peers, and there is the sickly satisfying, mutual feeling of panic all around. You know your objectives, and you stick to them. Performance now dictates how long you need to stay up, so it's best to lay it down and get it done.

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM: The confidence and productivity finally takes its toll. You slow down, thinking that you have the situation under control. This is a grave mistake, and you'll pay for it. Whether its due to completion, stubbornness, or apathy, your studio mates slowly head home, leaving you alone. The harsh reality sets in, and you prepare for the oncoming hours.

9:00 PM - 2:00 AM: Something strange happens here. Like a dancing ballerina, times flow becomes dynamic and unpredictable. There have been nights where I check the time, and fifteen minutes turns into an hour and a half. Panic mode sets in: productivity hits rock bottom and you're losing too much time. You lose your focus, arbitrarily making design decisions that don't fit your vision. Mistakes pop up here and there, but there isn't enough time to correct them. If you lose forward momentum now, all hope is lost.

2:00 AM - ???: Nothing ever really gets done after two. You get your second wind, and your body wakes up again. At this point, you're just kinda sitting there, doodling, aimlessly thinking about how to complete the project. You make some progress, but it isn't really worth the time you've spent. It's best to call it how it is, go home, and just get some sleep.

The next day, you'll show up to studio, ready to go. The humor in all of it is that your teachers probably won't even let you present. They'll talk about three or four projects, and if you're lucky, you'll be one of them. Makes the whole thing seem pretty pointless, but hey, it builds character, right?

Until Next Time

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