Coffee is about much more than staying awake

Published by adviser, Author: Danielle Swezey - Commentary, Date: September 18, 2014
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Coffee. Ah, ye foul, caffeinated temptress that brings me to my knees every single morning. I made the transition from untainted soul to coffee addict somewhere toward the beginning of my freshman year of college. I was forced to settle on a meal plan with Flex to spend, and I reasoned that if I had the money on hand I might as well try the stuff. Somehow I made the slow transition from resembling a kid sucking down cough syrup for the first time to getting a coffee with double cream and double sugar at least once a day. The change really took effect after suffering through overnight shifts during my summer job. In my quest to stay awake while the rest of the world remained asleep, I found that coffee made a reliable ally. Now here I am; that sad soul licking the excess drops of chicory-flavored goodness dripping down the side of their cup as they rush off to their first class of the day.

Somewhere along Starbucks’s rise to world domination, coffee has become a subject of serious debate. After an extensive survey from the general public (and by “extensive survey” I mean brief collection of opinions from a close group of friends, we’re low budget here at The Rocket), I have discovered that the vast majority of people our age are either coffee drinkers, or they’re adamantly against touching the stuff.  I obviously fall along the former, but it is interesting to think about the reasons why people drink coffee.  Reasons, you ask? What other reason could there be than to stay awake? If you will, think of the stigma that follows those who drink coffee. We proudly parade through the Quad, brandishing insulation-wrapped coffee cups as silent emblems of our maturation. Desktops sit ornamented with Sharpie-branded cardboard cups and decorative travel mugs, symbols that we are hardworking, mature young adults deserving of a drink that will perk us up from whatever long night we have just suffered through. So why do college kids cling to coffee like their last threads of sanity? Do they truly love the taste and effect, or do they claim it as a status symbol as a newly established grown-up in this great big world outside of high school? Or is it something more than that?

There are the positive social implications that come with the drink. Many of us can identify with coffee’s communal power. My first college roommate and I bonded through our devotion to her Keurig machine and vast collection of K-cups, and we grew accustomed to each other’s tastes and preferences. Local baristas come to know their regulars, and create favorite drinks with a fondness emanating from familiarity and trust. Coffee has the ability to bond us in a way that we might not have considered before. Whatever your reason, raise your glasses to your fellow sleep-deprived comrades and be secure in the fact that you aren’t alone in your enjoyment of this lifestyle.

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