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Surviving end-of-term by going nocturnal

I remember by sophomore year, a friend of mine was half-complaining, half-bragging about "going nocturnal." He explained that he had temporarily ruined his sleep schedule so that he rose at 4 pm and eventually went to bed at 6 am, the next day. I was initially horrified and then wrote it off to the characteristic eccentricity I had found of many at MIT.

But since, I too have come to worry about a thesis deadline and other trivial details related to graduating. I have started experimenting with "going nocturnal" and would like to extol the virtues of quasi-permanent nighttime living.

1/3 Stress reduction. Going nocturnal relieves stress because when one awakes, the day is almost over. Messy details like class and appointments all usually take place during business hours and one just simply avoids these daily stress-generating activities.

1/3 Save money. Phone calls, for instance, fall into evening/night dial rates and these discounts add up to substantial savings.

1/3 Lose weight. It is often difficult to find food at peak energy hours like 2 am. One can easily shed pounds by having opportunities to buy food taken away.

1/3 Peace, quiet and increased productivity. The poor saps who try to use, for example, workstations during the day and evening lose time they probably do not have by looking for a space, being distracted by others, and suffering from peak loads. Problems associated with crowds apply to a variety of public spaces like Lobdell, Barker Library, even common thoroughfares like the Infinite Corridor. One can walk much quicker through the Infinite Corridor at night without the noisy, boisterous crowds to hamper movement.

1/3 Feeling of empowerment. Job interviewers from particular industries sometimes make a point to ask candidates whether they can handle stress and demanding hours. Stress and demanding hours at a job would have to be cheesecake compared to the last three weeks at MIT. A nocturnal veteran would be able to scoff at such inquiries.

1/3 And finally, the antidote. Pulling all-nighters for more than a week might make it difficult to revert to a normal sleeping schedule in one day. The easy solution, of course, is to grab a friend and start partying around noon or late afternoon. Sometime around late evening, the nocturnal victim will probably fall asleep and sleep peacefully until the morning.

Becoming an official night-owl has been a fun and interesting experience. I urge those who are slipping into the late hour to take the plunge and stay up all night. Many chocolate-covered espresso beans and days later, you too may laud nocturnal living.


Christina Boyle is a senior majoring in economics.