A university all nighter is staying up all night to complete an assignment, or to study the night(s) prior to an exam. You are not a student if you haven't had one of these - they are unofficial prerequisites to graduating. They are one of the common bonds between all members of the student body, and many a campus legend has been forged from them. You might have had them at school, or work, but for a lot of people (albeit those of the geek kindred) university is often where they are first experienced and where the most memorable take place.

99% of all cases are stress motivated - namely the stress comes from by being lazy and not studying in the weeks prior to the exam despite being given ample time. This results in a panicked attempt to cram and/or work your ass off. Whether or not they are successful is another question.

For some, the university all nighter is when the optimum level of stress is attained, (for many students, this is also the stress threshold) and the student will work harder and longer in one night than over the rest of the entire term. Many an academic would shake their head, baffled at the mathematically impossible amount of work that could be produced over a single night. The rate at which some people can produce work when pushed the right way is quite amazing. Admittedly they usually have to spend the next few days, nay weeks in rehabilitation...

For the less fortunate, nothing much is achieved in a university all nighter except more stress and exhaustion. These people are more suited to consistent work and study. But then given the physiological (and psychological impact of a university all nighter, everybody is.

The university all nighter is aided by stimulant drinks - many of the one timers enjoy coke and pepsi, but the truly hardcore go for jolt, caffeine pills, and coffee so thick it sticks to your spoon.

Except for the hardcore, 99% of all cases result in student zombies - aside from the fact that they are effectively walking vegetables for the time being, they can be identified by a variety of symptoms:
  • rumpled clothes
  • unshaven face - yes, females too!
  • hooded eyes
  • unsteady totter
  • lack of concentration
  • irritability
  • bad smell
    They also tend to slur words, and fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. Sleep deprivation is unhealthy.

    After anywhere between 20 and 35 hours of straight consciousness (depending on circumstances), the body begins to shut down it's basic sensory system, and one feels blissful nirvana, as if on drugs. This is a very bad sign You're probably losing brain cells by the thousands. After a few hours of this, the body reactivates and you feel like total shit.

    The truly hardcore all nighters are those of practise their craft on a fairly constant basis, often doing more than one per week, or even several in a row, depending on necessity. They gain respect and scorn alike from their peers.

    Compare with good party, except negate the fun value. Often your first university all nighter is a story shared with friends during freshman parties.
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