NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - It's 2:23 in the morning and Skylar Hotaling is tapping away on her laptop.
The senior who harbors dreams of becoming a veterinarian is studying Calculus I and Organic Chemistry I.
She's not tucked in some dark recesses of a library or even holed up on her couch in some dorm.
She's cramming for finals at the Zimmerli Art Museum, which she says has a certain ambiance unmatched by other typical studying sites.
"I like being able to take a break and look at the pieces," she said. "It's definitely more inspiring than looking at some books or getting distracted by the TV in my living room."
The Zimmerli Art Museum's Study All Night event attracts all sorts of students from across the university, even ones who dream of one day tending to the lions at the San Diego Zoo.
There are two law school students huddled at a long table as a color photolithograph of an Otoe-Missouria Chief in his headdress seems to look on.
In the children's illustration section, a mural of a mouse in a pink dress seems to interest a communications major takes copious notes.
Statues of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster seem to be at the ready in case the nearby chemistry major needs a hand studying.
A museum with a wing dedicated to nonconformist art from the Soviet Union may at first blush seem like an odd setting for a study hall.
"But," said Assistant Curator of Education and Outreach Claire D'Amato, "the libraries are at capacity around campus, especially around finals time. So we thought, 'Why not stay open for 24 hours, give them a place to study, some refreshments free for them, power outlets, tables, so they can come and study in our upstairs galleries.'"
So, the students started coming here at 10 a.m. Tuesday to study and they'll keep coming until the event ends at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. In all, D'Amato estimates about 600 students will come to drink coffee provided by PaparazZi Café in the lobby, settle in at one of the many tables set up around the museum and cram for finals.
Earlier in the night, meditation and healing movement programs were offered as study breaks. In the predawn hours, however, the 100 or so students spread throughout the museum are quietly typing tapping away on their laptops. Others are scribbling away on notebooks. Almost everyone is wearing earbuds.
They're students like Olivia Wright, who was studying for an animal behavior class in the American Art wing and taking notes in green ink.
"Usually I'm at the library, so this is different," she said. "It's a lot brighter. It's nice to be able to look at all the paintings in the spare time. It's nice."
Jeremy Rodriguez was looking at a large painting with a friend. He is so close to graduating but admitted it's hard to stay focused. He woke up at about 4 in the afternoon and has a lot of studying ahead of him. He has to finish a paper on something called systems physiology, which is the integration of how the body parts work together.
"I think it's cool because you're usually not around things that stimulate more thinking," Rodriguez said. "If I were to take a break at the library or something, I'm not going to take a walk around the library. I'm going to be on phone. But here, I'm doing something that is enabling me to think more in some sense."