My First All-Nighter

I’ve just pulled my very first all-nighter.

Yesterday was the due date of the first draft of my Extended Essay.

I’ve stayed up til midnight, til 1am, til 2am before. There isn’t anything special about these times. Everyone is asleep and everything is quiet. The part of Hanoi that I live in isn’t the part of town that is bustling and “never sleeps.” There was the occasional sound of a motorcycle or a car passing by outside, but it was barely audible from my third-floor bedroom. Mostly I could hear myself think. And the constant sounds of key strokes.

My sister was asleep. The only light source was a desk lamp and my computer screen. I willed myself to stay awake. I had to finish this. Carefully I reviewed my sources, deleted chunks of my outline, and thank the heavens for an annotated bibliography. CitationMachine was a friend. It only wanted what was best for me, right?

You see, the difference between stay up until the sun rises and waking up as the sun rises is that the sunrise seemed to creep up on you in the former scenario. You panicked and stared at you word processor, shocked at how little you’ve accomplished and how much time has gone by. You told yourself “maybe I should go to sleep now, I can still get a few hours.” But you didn’t. You kept going. There was a goal and you had to reach it. Or bust.

It was 6:30am. Your parents and sister woke up for work. Your mom didn’t even realize you pulled an all-nighter. She just thought you woke up early because you were hungry. That too.

It was done. The word count stared back at you, unblinkingly.

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