Before the Sun, a Different Hilltop
Published: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 03:02
Campus is silent. Most buildings are closed. The majority of students have gone to bed with the exception of a few lit dorm rooms and some studying in main buildings, such as Lauinger Library and the Rafik B. Hariri Building. As Thursday melds into Friday, it is too late for most people to be out and too early for most to be awake. This is 4 a.m. at Georgetown University.
4:05 a.m. The second floor of Lau totals 10 students. The students are broken up in two smaller groups and one individual sits in a cubicle working. Three students congregate around a table, staring blankly at textbooks and giggling nervously. They are all studying for a biochemistry midterm later that day. One of the students, Margaret Horak (NHS ’15), describes her increased stress levels the night before an exam.
“I study up to it, but the night before the exam, I’m up all night. I can’t sleep,” Horak said.
The members of the group, mostly majoring in various sciences, all usually go to sleep around 3 a.m., but because of the test, they are hoping to fill their remaining time with more studying. They chose the library because it keeps them from avoiding distractions or falling asleep.
4:11 a.m. The change of setting is a common practice for other students, too.
Phil Cho (MSB ’14) is on his way to the library because he knows he has something to finish.
“I try MSB and other places but usually end up going to Lau. I can’t really work in my room,” Cho said. He rushes to finish his paper by the morning, before his trip to New York.
4:23 a.m. Asahi Nino (COL ’17) does not often pull all-nighters. He usually stays up all night only a couple of times a month, almost always prompted by writing a paper.
“I feel like there’s a certain point where I realize I’m probably going to be up all night and then I get less productive because I know I’m going to be here forever anyways so I have time to spare,” Nino said. “Then, towards the end, I realize that I really do want to get it done, and my productivity goes up again.”
4:30 a.m. In comparison, Nino’s roommate, Matthijs Van Duijl (MSB ’17), stays up until 4 a.m. every school night. He does not work well during the day and feels most productive around midnight. Like the others, Van Duijl leaves his room to study during the wee hours of the night and sometimes feels like the only one on campus.
“People start to leave around 3 a.m,” he said. “I’m either here alone or there is someone else struggling with me.”
4:38 a.m. Campus is dimly lit and students can no longer enter Regents by swiping. Sellinger Lounge and Hoya Court smell of cleaning products and are completely devoid of students, with only the presence of custodial staff.
4:45 a.m. Another student sits writing a paper, but a bit closer to home. Massimo Mazzolini (COL ’17) usually stays in his room, but he decided to work in his common room, tonight. He yawns a few times and comments on his lack of productivity at the moment. Typically, he feels most productive at midnight, but works straight through the night.
“I don’t want to risk not waking up, so I stay up until I finish,” Mazzolini said.
While some students slumber, other students study. This is 4 a.m. at Georgetown University.