By Christina Arzapalo | firstname.lastname@example.org
Illustration by Ellen Gambrell
Hi, my name is Christina. I’m a recovering addict.
A caffeine addict, that is.
On Jan. 25, 2010, I attempted to get through the entire day without any caffeine. The key word here is “attempted.”
The funny thing is, I’m actually slightly allergic to caffeine. Doctors have been telling me since I was a little kid that it’s bad for me, and it could make my heart race dangerously. So naturally, as a child, my parents really limited my caffeine intake.
But then I entered college, and was opened up to a world of caffeine.
With my parents no longer around to pester me about the dangers of the drug, I experimented with Coca Cola, dark chocolate, energy drinks like Red Bull and the big one — black coffee.
I had never felt so focused, so ready to take on the world. Caffeine became a big part of my life, and I depend on it each day to get me though. As you can imagine, this little experiment was no easy task for me.
I woke up on the morning of Jan. 25 and didn’t go near my coffee pot. Instead, I grabbed a berry juice box from the refrigerator and headed to class. By 10 a.m., I was dragging. Big time.
At lunch, I was tempted to grab a Diet Coke, but I stuck with water instead. I could barely keep my eyes open.
By the time class came around at 1 p.m., I was ready to go down for a nap. Class was putting me to sleep, and I was left to imagine my soft, comfy bed.
At 4 p.m., I cracked. I bought an espresso-filled caramel macchiato from the student center. As soon as I took my first sip, I felt at ease with myself again. I really took for granted the abundance of caffeine around me, and had no idea it would be this hard to quit.
Rachel Bruce, a fellow communication major and caffeine enthusiast limits her intake to a few times a week. Although she doesn’t make it an everyday habit like I do, she does like the extra oomph caffeine gives you.
“I have coffee and tea maybe three times a week,” Bruce said. “It really helps me out in the mornings when I have to be up extra early.”
And then there’s Jennifer Kelly, an education major who moved to Florida from New Jersey last fall. She feels like her caffeine intake has decreased since she switched states.
“New Jersey is more fast-paced than Florida, and I felt like I had to drink more coffee to keep up with everyone,” Kelly said. “I’m definitely calmer here, and I don’t bounce around as much as I normally would.”
Kelly shares a common act with me: bringing a cup of coffee (or two) to her morning classes.
“I crave the caffeine,” she said.
She added that the dining hall coffee isn’t exactly prime brew, and it takes a little more than one or two cups to make a difference in the morning than the coffee she drinks back home.
More like five cups.
Washington University columnist Ann Johnson thinks college students and caffeine addiction go hand-in-hand.
“The cocktail of stress hormones that exams, papers and quizzes helps to create makes total sense (for students to crave the caffeine),” Johnson said.
The Washington University bookstore sells a product called Energy Spray. Johnson said that students should limit themselves to ten sprays in four hours.
Instant energy: achieved.
Maybe the Flagler College bookstore should think about carrying Energy Spray?
Then, there are the poor unfortunate souls known as non-coffee drinkers, like elementary education major Kelsey Peryam.
“I believe that to make it through the day, a person needs nothing more than a balanced breakfast and sleep,” Peryam said. “If anything, drinks like coffee and tea put me to sleep.”
I’ll never understand her.
My brain without caffeine is like the final heart beats of a dying person.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.
One day I’ll quit caffeine altogether, but I know it certainly won’t be while I’m still attending Flagler College.