Whether it’s caused by a much-needed late night study session before a final exam, struggling to wake up for an eight o’clock class, or needing to properly function after remaining awake for sixteen hours, college students run almost entirely on caffeine in some shape or form.
Ranges of caffeinated drinks from docile tea to extreme energy drinks are utilized daily by college students for various reasons. Between those two extremes, coffee seems to take a “happy medium” standpoint.
Providing more of a kick than tea, and with a much more simple list of ingredients than energy drinks, coffee grants its drinkers with a decent energy boost that won’t cause regret later on by making its drinker crash. While coffee does have its pros to some people’s extremely busy lives, however, are we becoming too dependent on its capabilities?
According to a study done in the presence of college students in the University of New Hampshire, forty percent of 18 to 24 year olds, the ages in which students typically attend college, drink coffee every single day. These students were seen turning their backs to the once popular caffeinated sodas and energy drinks to turn, instead, to coffee for all their energy needs for the day.
Coffee provides a more responsible way to keep up with our busy lives, thus giving us less stress over getting what needs to get done finished. Blurry words on the page become comprehensive study guides for finals, the professors that sound like the adults from Peanuts become clear, and even surviving on no or little sleep can feel like just a slight sleepy feeling.
We rely on coffee to help and practically replace the loss of sleep that we are experiencing. In looking at this, coffee can be seen as a saving grace, keeping people up for extended amounts of time.
However, as most know, coffee isn’t all fun and games.
Something that this study neglects to display is the amount of coffee drunk by each student in response to having one each and every day. It is often the case that those who get a cup of coffee earlier in the day, to start their mornings off with a boost of energy, will eventually need another one or two to continue to receive a constant supply of caffeine to keep their bodies functioning properly.
Without this steady amount continuously pumping through their veins, the person may become slowly unable to keep up with their exhaustion and could eventually succumb at inopportune times, should they allow the caffeine to completely deplete from their systems. To counteract this circumstance, these coffee drinkers are forced to drink more and more coffee to compensate.
While this is not bad in short terms, should the drinker continues these means of keeping their energy levels up, slowly but surely the person may develop a resistance to coffee. In this regard, the drinker will need to drink extra coffee from that day on to combat the lack of receiving the desired results.
This information is not new, but it brings up means for concern. How much coffee is too much? How many cups of coffee will be drunk to compensate for the lack of the once perfect amount of energy?
At some point, the caffeine intake will turn against its user should they overuse it too often. While a larger dose of caffeine every once in awhile will not drastically change your body, relying on it too often may result in these unfulfilled feelings arising in response.
As someone who used to work at multiple coffee shops, including Starbucks, I’ve seen both sides to this spectrum. There were the people who would come in just during the morning hours to fetch a coffee to wake themselves up before heading to work.
However, there were a couple people who would drink their coffees in the store and come up for another to take with them. Amongst these couple people, I noticed an increase in their presence as they found that the two cups they were getting before weren’t making the cut in keeping them awake.
While it sounds cliché, going to bed, even for a few hours, is better than relying solely on coffee to sustain us throughout the day. Getting sleep has somehow gotten a bad name for itself in the eyes of some for an extended period of time now.
College students find that they should work, even in their exhaustion, to get their work done when they need to cram it all in one small time span. Many neglect, however, the fact that the work done while you are sleepy may not be your best and has the potential to need to be fixed later on, almost making the work useless at the time.
The same goes for studying. If you are exhausted while studying for a test, you may wake up later feeling as though you didn’t retain the information because the minute you start crashing, you focus more on fixing that problem then the work in front of you.
After all, taking a nap or sleeping for an hour and then re-approaching your work with a coffee in hand is better than attempting to power through with just the coffee alone.