Caffeine consumption on campus has pros and cons

Kailey Bates, Life Columnist

Some love it, some hate it, and some absolutely need — coffee.

One of the most popular beverages on a college campus, coffee straddles the line between being a legal drug with possibly harmful side effects or a warm drink that awakens the senses before an early morning class is blurred.

Coffee contains 135 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces — a higher ratio than some of the most potent energy drinks, which only contain around 80 mg, according to an Oct. 2017 article.

There are a slew of negative side effects associated with the intake of caffeine.

Not only can the drug increase blood pressure and disrupt sleep patterns, it can also interact negatively with certain medications, according to a Dec. 2011 AARP article.

A 2003 study conducted by the psychiatry department at the University of Chicago found that caffeine can heighten one’s anxiety levels and even cause panic attacks.

However, for some like sophomore Clarissa Libertelli, drinking coffee only causes minor body changes with no accompanying mental anxiety.

“Coffee just makes my heart beat a little faster,” Libertilli said. “But I don’t really mind because I hate being tired so goddamn much.”

Coffee has beneficial effects as well negative ones. According to 2011 research presented at the American Chemical Society, coffee is the No. 1 source of antioxidants in the American diet.

Coffee can even relieve a headache because it causes blood vessels to constrict, according an Oct. 2017 LiveStrong article.

On chilly winter mornings, nothing is better than drinking a warm cup of joe, said sophomore Becca Rudden, who drinks two cups every day.

“I love coffee for the taste,” Rudden said. “Whenever I make a pot of coffee at home, the smell reminds me of my grandparents house in the morning, so it’s got a nostalgic effect on me.”

First-year Allister King said she doesn’t care about the taste.

“Sometimes I’ll go to Starbucks and get something fancy, but usually I just go to the [Wellness Environment] dining hall and drink black coffee—which everyone is always horrified at—just for the caffeine,” King said.

If coffee doesn’t evoke feelings of comfort and you can’t stand the taste, there are other ways to get caffeine for that extra push when studying for exams.

Caffeine can be consumed in the form of tablets, chewing gum, granola bars, teas and much more.

Coffee is everywhere on campus.

The dining halls all have unlimited amounts ready to dispense, but if that regular old mug isn’t enough, Henderson’s Cafe and the Cyber Cafe serve Vermont Artisan Coffee lattes and cappuccinos.

Rudden said her favorite coffee nook is the Waterman Cafe.

Coffee-drinker or not, caffeine has addictive properties.

“Moderate doses of caffeine, equal to about 200 to 300 milligrams per day, is safe for adults,” according to a May 2017 article.

As with everything, caffeine is best consumed in moderation.