Coffee is what is known to be the non-alcoholic crutch for the majority of students. 86% of students report having consumed a form of caffeine on a regular basis, which comes as no surprise due to the copious amounts of work and deadlines that students have to juggle. With stress and anxiety rising among the student population, more and more young adults are reaching for substances that will enhance their academic performance.
For me, the first thing I do in the morning is grab a cup of coffee, and most students have the same routine. I am often unable to do any work without devouring some sort of caffeine first. Despite the bad side effects of coffee that everyone is aware of, students cannot seem to stop drinking coffee. This is understandable thanks to the prioritisation of academics over one’s health. The elusive dream of a full 8 hours of sleep for a student is just that; a dream. This highlights that rather than being the fault of the students’ ability to manage their time, maybe we should instead be pointing the finger at the education system and the immense pressure that is placed on students to perform at 100% all of the time. To help maximise the amount of time a student has to spend on work, a social life and other various commitments, they turn to the addictive drug that is caffeine. A study undertaken by medical students at the Dow University of Health Science reveals that many students found that caffeine gave them a boost not only in energy but also in self-confidence and reading power. All of these qualities are necessary for a successful student.
Whilst drinking coffee does have its benefits, we should also be aware of its damaging traits. The more coffee a person drinks, the higher their tolerance towards caffeine will be, meaning that an increasing amount of coffee will need to be consumed to help feel that energising kick that students crave. But with the intense highs, there are also intense lows. The brain has to produce more tiredness receptors in order to maintain an equilibrium in line with the amount of coffee being consumed. So when a student who is a regular coffee drinker misses out on a coffee, they go into a withdrawal and will experience bad headaches and an exacerbated level of tiredness. This will lead to poor performance in a student’s academic life and daily life. This generation of student’s dependency on coffee and other stimulants is hugely alarming. But the mix of positive and negative effects that caffeine has, and the myriad of tasks that they need to tackle, makes it difficult for them to find any alternative to drinking coffee.
The stereotype that students are destructive needs to stop. We only go to these great lengths because of the pressure that is placed on us by educational institutions and the crippling job market that we have been left with. Criticism should be deflected towards governments and how they handle students’ lives. For the foreseeable future, students will continue to consume caffeine in order to keep up with their taxing lives.
Image courtesy of Nolan Issac.