I think a can safely say, we have all been there at some point, burning the midnight oil.
If you think about it there are lots of turns of phrases to describe the late night vigil. It has become cliche to say “being a night owl,” “burning the candle at both ends,” “pulling an all-nighter,” and yet we say them for lack of better words to describe staying up until the wee hours of the morning pouring over books and paper in the blue glow of computer light.
But I have just found the long lost word that articulates this ritual that all students young or old participate in.
Lucubrator: a person who studies by night, or by candlelight. –Leo de Colange’s Zell’s Popular Encyclopedia, 1871. [I suppose we could say computer light or iPod light nowadays and it have it be similar to candlelight]*
So now, instead of struggling over cliches and other idioms, you can use a forgotten English word to baffle and confuse your readers!
Happy Writing or Reading!
*Kacirk, Jeffrey. Forgotten English. 2011.