Tips on how to best prevent design student unhealthy habit
Written by Gianina Ramos - Illustration by Elaine Wang
Most, if not all, design students have pulled the all-nighter for a project. Some even go 36-48 hours without sleep and (barely) live to tell the tale. Some people pull the all-nighter to avoid the all-nighter. I can tell you that I highly recommend having good time management skills to avoid this, even though it can be fun in all its stressful craziness.
The very first (and the most obvious) suggestion that I want to give you is:
Do everything in your power not to pull one!
But as a fellow student, I understand that most of you would just overlook that reminder and push every till the very end.
So to all my fellow students with poor time management, busy schedules, creative block or whatever your reason may be, I have eight tips, that will hopefully help you get through the night/morning until the end of your crit.
- PLAN OUT EVERYTHING -
Know what your assignment is asking for. Know
your limits, as in know what programs you’ll be efficient in and what
materials you’re comfortable working with.
- WORK ON BIG TABLES -
Small tables mean more time spent on moving things around and more time setting things aside to make room. Not to
mention how annoying it is to cut materials bigger than your desk.
- USE BRIGHT WHITE LIGHT -
Bright white lighting is absolutely necessary. Never use a dim
yellow light or one desk light in a dark room. It’ll only make you drowsy.
- DON'T WORK IN SILENCE -
Background noise helps you keep your
spirits up and can stimulate focus. Play music that gets you going, calms
you down or makes you sing along. Play a show or movie that doesn’t
require too much attention. Something that doesn’t require too much
looking at the screen. This background noise is not meant to be a
- BREAKS ARE IMPORTANT -
Use your breaks to nap, eat, stretch or move your body. Go to the New Circadia Exhibition at the Architecture & Design Gallery within the Daniels Building. You can pick your own pillow and take a quiet nap inside the cozy space. Even professors would go down to the exhibition to get some good naps in between classes!
- HAVE GOOD COMPANY -
Keep GOOD COMPANY around you. Try your best not to work alone. Working among your peers not only makes you feel like you’re not alone, they are also there to help and comment on your work. But make sure you find a good balance between “we’re all in this together” and “every man for themselves”. It’s good to help but it’s okay to be selfish and make your work the number one priority.
- DON’T PANIC -
Understand the time but also know when to ignore it. Sometimes continually checking the time can give you anxiety
- HIDE THE ALL-NIGHTER -
Before your final crit, make sure you know
what to say for your presentation. If you’re not working at home, bring your crit outfit and toiletries and everything you need to look normal in the morning. Don’t act like you just spent the whole night working on this project. Presenting is about trying to sell your idea to your professor and TA’s.
All-nighter culture is common with many students in design schools. I’ve even had a TA laugh and say, “You think you’re losing sleep now?” So maybe it doesn’t get better (unless you fine tune your time management of course). Again, I cannot stress enough that this is not something I recommend but if worse comes to worst, I hope these few tips help you out. You will never love your bed more than when you go home after an all-nighter and crit.
Submission from SHIFT15/16
1st Edit by Phat Lee (Former SHIFT Editor-in-chief)
2nd Edit by Jasper Choi