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And miles to go before I sleep. by Kim D. '09

Here we go again.

A friend in the class of mine which has a huge pset due tomorrow talked it over with me today. His final words as we parted? “You’ve got a long night ahead of you.” Great. The thing is, I know how to handle these nights. I should anyways; I have enough experience.

Part of my application to be an admissions blogger read,

Once, years ago, there was a Great Night of Toolage: a long, long night of grueling problem sets due the next day. Time and time again, a younger version of myself began to nod off over her equations, only to be jolted back awake by the heavy beat of Birdhouse in Your Soul, blasting out of her boyfriend’s speakers. This video makes about as much sense as anything else did at that hour of that night and is the Officially Recognized Commemorative Video of The Great Night Of Toolage, cementing its place in history. As long as there is MIT, there will be epic bouts of working. As long as there are epic bouts of working, this video will be to be the most important piece of art around. (After all, our work is never over.)

But it should be over. I’ve learned my lesson. Over time, with work, I learned to plan ahead and work without distraction. I became a “mature senior.” It’s just that last weekend, I slipped. I dressed up and went to see W in a theater with my boyfriend and we had Thai food afterwards. And now I’m doomed. Once, I wouldn’t have blinked about staying up all night and finishing this huge pset. But I’m out of practice. I don’t know if I have the same endless energy I did when I was a freshman, which let me run for days on adrenaline.

Nonetheless, if I go out, I go out fighting. I went to Star and bought provisions: 4.2 pounds of Goldfish crachers, 2 liters of Diet Coke, 3 lb of Cinnamon Applesauce, green sugar sprinkles, cinnamon red-hots, cake mix and frosting, micowave soup, dark chocolate in large quantities, fruit cocktail, pineapple slices, and bananas. It should be enough sugar, caffeine, and general things to chew on to keep me going for a good long while. I even closed my eyes as I took the escalator down from Star, and as I walked along the streets back, conserving my energy. (I opened them to check for cars at the crossings.) I know where to find plenty of They Might Be Giants.

Here we go…

19 responses to “And miles to go before I sleep.”

  1. DrBurst says:

    Will she become epic, we will know by tomorrow morning. Teh internets [sic] await the results of your mission. Good luck. BTW, 8 hour energy works great on me, so, give it a try tonight.

  2. Laura says:

    Oh man, I’m gonna be there with you tonight. =/

    But cinnamon applesauce is the greatest thing known to man!

  3. Hey, you forgot the hot chocolate? Everyone knows provisions are incomplete without Swiss Miss!

    Another great They Might Be Giants Song: Don’t Let’s Start. smile

    Good luck psetting.

  4. D says:

    Thanks for the tips. I will shove a ton of candy down my throat so I can finish my paper tonight XP

  5. kimd says:

    Thanks for the song tip. I don’t know what most people at MIT do for energy drinks. Someone set up a Red Bull machine on campus within the last couple of years, but I don’t use it myself. I try to keep away from much caffeine unless I really need it, so that it works when I need it to.

    @D, I never said this was a good idea; inhale copious amounts of candy at your own risk. Good luck with the paper!

    Current status: making slow progress.
    (ps. On the epsilon chance that anyone reading this is in 6.336 and tooling, let me know!)

  6. D says:

    Heh. It’s practice for when Halloween comes around.

    Do you have any tips on how to work without distraction? I had all of the planning, but I never seem to be able to stick to the schedules I create =.=

  7. kimd says:

    Yeah, it always does seem to be easier to work without distraction as the deadlines get closer, doesn’t it smile

    It helps to convince yourself of the importance of your deadlines. I think people sometimes get better grades when they’ve got more classes because it puts them into ‘absolutely-have-to-focus-or-I’ll-drown-in-a-sea-of-work mode’. You could try making threats or promises to yourself?

    For me personally, it helps to sit on the floor and spread all the materials I need out in a semicircle around me, so that I don’t need to get up and go look for anything and get distracted. It helps to have bright lights, and not be too comfortable; trying to read a textbook in bed usually just makes me want to sleep. Sometimes it helps to go to a lab on campus and work, since then I don’t have access to anything but my work, or friends around being awesomely distracting.

    *shrug* I’m still figuring it out myself.

  8. Snively says:

    @Rebeca
    MIT’s grocer (LaVerdes) sells Jolt, Monster, Red Bull, Double Shot, and Rockstar. Other favorites include Bawls and Sobe Adrenaline Rush.

    The coffee at Pete’s coffee (the coffee place in Lobby 7) is, I’m pretty sure, laced with crack cocaine and serves as an excellent energy drink as well.

    I prefer Sobe Adrenaline Rush and G33k Beer (root beer flavored Bawls soda).

  9. Derek M. says:

    Just wondering, does anyone get like deathly ill from all the stress and lack of sleep at MIT? Basically, are there any permanent health issues associated with massive amounts of tooling? I am definitely going to MIT if I get accepted, but I want to start preparing myself now if I am going to be paying for 4 years at MIT later(no, I’m not just talking about money). Thanks!

  10. D says:

    I think know that ‘absolutely-have-to-focus-or-I’ll-drown-in-a-sea-of-work mode’. I don’t do much work until I have a billion things to do at once >.I think know that ‘absolutely-have-to-focus-or-I’ll-drown-in-a-sea-of-work mode’. I don’t do much work until I have a billion things to do at once >.<

    2 paragraphs down, 4 more paragraphs and a poster to go!

    How is your tooling going?

  11. Oasis '11 says:

    “The coffee at Pete’s coffee (the coffee place in Lobby 7) is, I’m pretty sure, laced with crack cocaine and serves as an excellent energy drink as well.”

    Peet’s*

    HAHA YES. Dang, I drink that if I only slept 4 hours the night before my back-to-back 4.601 lecture/recitation on Thursday(which is a total of 2:30 hours in a very dim room). Works like magic.

  12. deng says:

    coffee just makes me jittery and lose all my tennis matches xD
    but unfortunately, neither coffee nor candy has an affect on falling asleep

  13. D says:

    I finished at around 1:30 in the morning, no thanks to a long lost buddy of mine that signed on and distracted me =P

    Wow, an MIT all nighter sounds sucky. Mine usually end around 5 am. How much time did you spend on the PSET?

    Completely off topic: I have this really old keyboard with a turbo button right next to the shift key. Does anyone know what it’s for? 0.o

  14. Anonymous says:

    i’ve always been way too scared to try energy drinks. what if they taste incredibly nasty or make me gag or make me too hyper to fall asleep for days on end? yeah, coffee suits me better =P

  15. kimd says:

    Ugh. Still at it…
    @D How’s the paper going? Finished yet?

  16. Rebeca says:

    Best of luck to you!

    Out of curiosity, does there seem to be an MIT energy drink of choice?

  17. Nicole '10 says:

    Yay TMBG! I’ve found that their song ‘Am I Awake’ is very appropriate for an all nighter.

  18. Susan '11 says:

    It isn’t technically an energy drink, but Mountain Dew is happy.

    Bawls is also fairly popular.

  19. kimd says:

    So, I ended up getting an extension and spending a second full night on it. Sigh. Those psets are brutal. Anyways, I’ve handed it in now, so I can move on to… more work! I slept in this morning though, as a treat.