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MIT student blogger Yuliya K. '18

The Deadline by Yuliya K. '18

where I attempt to reason through an approaching all-nighter

I have discarded jeans for yoga pants. My laundry load does not fit in the large washer. Chocolate and peanuts and granola make me groan, for too often they have replaced a human lunch. Soon I will run out of socks…

8.01, Classical Mechanics has an exam tomorrow night. 5.112. Principles of Chemical Science, 18.022. Calculus, and 18.100B Real Analysis, have coordinated their Problem Sets to be due in almost symmetrical time intervals on the same day. I call it Dark Thursday.

Learning at MIT is hard.

Weekdays are a blur of work and socialization, with lines between the two unclear. The time-proven procrastination methods concisely entitled “Social Media” have long lost their appeal. When was the last time I looked at a Facebook timeline for something other than finding PSet buddies? Probably freshman Orientation, although that seems too far removed to tell.

Challenges come in bursts and send an electrifying signal to the brain. “12 hours for 2 psets, although you can always pull an all-nighter,” I tell myself. Perhaps I lie when I say I’ll get it done, because I don’t reasonably expect for my body to endure another one of those hazy and hungry nights of no sleep. Everything is shockingly clear in those hours, yet the actions seem foreign and robotic. Physical necessities lose priority.

But I don’t mind a lack of sleep too much. In the morning, I get to watch the sun rise over my favorite Charles river and create scintillating crystals in the Boston skyline. The air is cool and devoid of worries. If anything, all nighters are worth it for this reward.

In fact, pressure can be exhilarating. It pushes one to the limits of intellectual capacities. It boosts even the tiny successes and forgets the sleepy mistakes. It lets one test the extent of knowledge, and the efficiency with which the brain extracts and processes it.

While doing homework, I feel as though I am peeling off a Brain BandAid with every problem solved or line of proof completion drawn. And I wonder, once I rip the final shred, what will occur? I hope that my mind will be cleared forever. I consider that a wonderful goal, despite the fact that, yes, ripping a BandAid often hurts.

Still, I look forward to the Deadline Catastrophe. In fact, I am writing about it, and therefore it must be inspirational.

Oh, and I should add that in the course of piecing this entry, I did laundry and found a new snack option to supplement a healthy lunch. I also completed one whole PSet, and the next one, for 18.100B, looks thrilling. I mean it.

Here’s to a long and lovely night!