It’s 9 a.m. and the line at Trojan Grounds is already stretching out the door. With bags under their eyes and slumped postures, the exhausted students wait until they reach the counter. Upon reaching the front of the line, they order something that will transform them from weary, worn out individuals thinking more about bed than books into assertive, eager college students ready to conquer the day’s challenges: coffee.
According to the National Coffee Association, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee per day. A study published in 2007 said 68 percent of Americans felt they were addicted to the drink.
Students across the United States are witnessing the growth in the overuse of coffee — or, as many like to call it, addiction. With students routinely not getting enough sleep, many crave the drink as it gives them the energy and focus to get through hours of class without falling asleep.
The number of coffee addicts is even higher among university students because they face situations involving pressure, deadlines and little sleep — three common causes leading to the overuse of coffee. Coupled with poor time management, procrastination and partying that lasts into the early morning, the urge to use coffee as a stimulant to stay awake is very high.
On college campuses, a coffee culture is widely accepted as normal. Coffeehouses and cafes are known on campuses across the nation as establishments that promote learning and the exchange of ideas. Some students claim drinking coffee while staying up late writing papers and studying for final exams is a ritual all college students should go through in order to get the complete college experience.
But what many don’t realize is the overuse of coffee can quickly lead to a caffeine addiction that can cause serious issues affecting everyday college life, such as studying and communicating effectively with others.
In an interview with NYU LiveWire, Dr. Laura Juliano, an expert on caffeine addiction, said “Caffeine is not seen as a drug, but it should be. Education and awareness is vital.”
Drinking more than three cups a day can lead to a dependency on coffee for important functions, such as work, driving and even simply staying awake. Juliano claims caffeine should be treated as any other drug in the sense that the threat of addiction is real, and the physical and psychological effects, can be devastating.
Surely, the average college student doesn’t consider coffee a substance that can be abused.
The first step, then, is to raise awareness so students can be cautioned against potential coffee abuse.
Students need to become educated on the risk they are taking by drinking large amounts of coffee on a regular basis. Seminars on campus sponsored by the health center would be a good start by raising awareness and offering students methods of dealing with caffeine addiction.
Instead of being an instrument in producing progressive thought, discussion and relationships, coffee is becoming a stimulant used solely as a crutch to keep individuals functioning instead of getting the necessary amount of rest.
Hopefully, students will recognize the dangers of this substance and use it in moderation.
Angad Singh is a sophomore majoring in communication and international relations.