Imagine you are scrolling through Instagram. As you mindlessly tap on story after story, there is a good chance that the same picture may come up on multiple people’s accounts, each in a slightly different way. The picture looks something like this: An aesthetically pleasing shot of a latte, an energy drink or a quad shot of espresso over ice with a splash of oat milk. Next to the drink lies a laptop, a textbook and notes galore. A commonly used caption in the corner of this picture might be: “The Essentials.”
While this saying may seem cheesy or unnecessary at times, it does in fact play a pivotal role in the reasoning behind why we as college students often tend to be dependent on caffeine. This raises the question: Is caffeine really essential to us as college students, or is it something that we have a grasp on simply because our peers do? After all, we often hear only about the reward and not the risk when it comes to putting this substance into our bodies.
Let’s face it, everyone has been there. It is 2 a.m. and you are just starting an assignment that is due for your 7:45 a.m. class that morning. What do you do? You quietly take the Keurig out of your room and make a cup of coffee in the lounge so that: 1. You don’t wake up your roommate, and 2. So that you can stay awake in order to finish what you need to get done. Whether it be coffee, Bubbl’r, Bang, varying soda pops or any other preferred drink, it is no secret that these drinks do wonders for providing energy to us when we need it most.
Before we look into the science behind the effects of caffeine and why college students tend to love it, let’s take a look at some of our Raiders’ favorite forms of caffeine, just for kicks and giggles. Marissa Leraas a sophomore theatre major prefers an iced brown sugar oat milk latte from The Fruited Plain in Sioux Center. Nichole Hansen, a freshman public relations major, prefers Red Bull because of the “insane amount of caffeine in it” and lastly, Melissa Thompson prefers Bubbl’r, specifically the pomegranate acai kind.
There are plenty of places on campus and in Orange City that can help satisfy a caffeine craving. Brad’s Bread and Bakery has a wide variety of coffee from espresso to cold brew and everything in between, as does Scooters. New Life Nutrition has options such as healthy shakes and teas which provide caffeine in smaller amounts. Grocery stores such as Fairway or Dollar Fresh have aisles lines with any energy drink imaginable. And lastly, campus has Common Grounds located in the Learning Commons with enough options for anyone’s liking, as well as vending machines conveniently located in various buildings.
So how exactly does caffeine affect us? While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a caffeine-filled drink now and again, whether it be just for fun or to get energy, we must be aware of what can happen when we consume too much caffeine. If a standard adult drinks more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day, they might experience: weird dreams, blurred vision, muscle aches and pains, a tight throat, irritability, stomach pains and weird cravings. To put this into perspective, Bubbl’rs, which are becoming more popular every day, have 69 mg of caffeine in their 12 oz size cans. A single two oz shot of espresso, on the other hand, contains 75 mg of caffeine. These are all things to remember next time you go and grab your favorite form of caffeine.