Friday, November 8, 2013

All about all-nighters: Where to study late on Mac’s campus

Originally published in The Mac Weekly.

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The all-nighter: location, location, location. Dunn Brothers closes at 11:00 p.m. The library and the Campus Center close at 1:00 a.m. You have nowhere left to turn and ten more pages of a paper to write due at noon the next day. I understand this feeling, having been in the same situation too many times to count during my Mac career.

It sounds rough, but the all-nighter is not so bad. There are many questions to consider (Will you drink five hour energy or Gatorade? What type of music will keep you going?), but one of the most important decisions you will have to make is location. Below are a few different locations you can consider to pull off a successful all-nighter.

Kirk Basement Lab (KBL):

Swipe in with your Macalester ID to get into this 24-hour computer lab at the northwest corner of Kirk.

Pro: It is a quiet place where people doing all-nighters go to get work done. Easy access to computers and printers.

Con: KBL is soul-killing. Sometimes people judge you for speaking louder than a whisper. If you are the social type during your all-nighters, this may not be the place for you.

Wallace 1 Lounge:

Located right in the middle of the first floor of Wallace.

Zach Gilfix ’16 studies in the Wallace formal lounge, one of the select locations Daniel Surman ’14 recommends for late-night studying at Mac.
Pro: There is variety. When you need to work, stick to the table and firm chairs. When you need a nap, stick to the couches.

Con: Let’s be real, couches are way too tempting when doing an all-nighter. Your nap turns into an all-night nap. Although when Facilities passes through to rearrange the furniture in the morning, it’s a nice wake-up call. And pro-tip: don’t play the piano, no matter how tempted you are. People will (unquestioningly) hate you.

30 Mac Lounge:

Literally right next to the Wallace 1 lounge.

Pro: Less people pass through here than the Wallace 1 lounge, so there is less potential for distractions than other dorm lounges. The couches are also slightly more comfortable.

Con: You are probably going to make the residents feel voyeuristic and uncomfortable if you pass out on the couch of their lounge every night; the lounge is enclosed by glass windows through which all of the residents can peer at you. Also, there are no chairs to work in, so you are stuck working on a relatively comfortable couch. The couch in turn brings the danger of falling asleep too long. At least you still have Facilities to wake you up in the morning.

Doty 2 (Broty) Lounge:

The spartan lounge centrally located on the second floor of Doty.

Pro: The couches are so uncomfortable, you will stay up all night (plus, they are covered in mysterious stains whose origins should not be considered … or slept on). It’s pretty quiet.

Con: If you do want to take any type of nap, the couches are not a big help. Plus, it’s Broty – be prepared to run into sexiles cast out of their rooms.

Significant other’s bedroom:

You know it well – your boyfriend or girlfriend’s room.

Pro: You have to be quiet when your significant other is sleeping, so it combines the forced quietness of a public all-nighter with the privacy of a dorm.

Con: Your significant other is right there, and probably quite attractive. When they wake up, it can be distracting.

Your own bedroom:

A man’s home is his castle.

Pro: It’s yours. If your walls are thick enough, you can make normal sounds. You have all of your books and resources there, so as long as you don’t need a printer it’s an ideal setup with little need to “get situated” like you do when you haul your work station to any of the other locations.

Con: Your bedroom is too familiar. It is way too easy to switch to video games, do chores or commit the ultimate sin of the all-nighter, falling asleep in your own bed. And unlike Wallace I or 30 Mac, Facilities staff won’t come by to wake you up. Do this at your own peril.

Other locations:

This list is not exhaustive. There are studies wedged into 30 Mac and Doty that are worth considering, holes-in-the-wall that are soul-killing like KBL but just might give you the single-minded focus you need to finish your work. Besides, location only matters so much, since we all know you are really going to be distracted by the internet anyway. Good luck!

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