Yes, Students Should Rely on Caffeine
Students across the country understand the exhaustion that comes from a long night of studying, but no one knows it better than Boston Latin School students. With its increasing popularity, caffeine is in just about everything students drink, from their favorite soft drink to a refreshing glass of sweet tea. Due to its effective ability to keep people awake, many have found themselves relying on caffeine to power through their days. Stressed students incorporate caffeine into their schedules as a crucial way to keep their head above water. With the daily stress that BLS places onto its students, caffeinated drinks are, for many, a useful way of navigating school life.
Caffeine is a stimulant that provides much-needed energy boosts. When new students begin to assimilate into BLS life, they quickly learn that not all learning environments are the same. Unfamiliar with the amount of effort and dedication it takes to produce the same quality work they did at their former schools, students feel overworked and tired.
Students who consume caffeine can give themselves more energy to stay up and finish school work to the best of their ability while juggling other activities, like sports or jobs. When they are more energized and productive, their stress levels decrease. Caffeine supplies students with a form of aid that is essential to maintaining good mental health.
BLS students are constantly held to a high standard of academic performance, leading to pressure to perform well. Caffeine combats this draining effect. Since caffeine is performance-enhancing, students feel solace when they have caffeine up their sleeve as a tool for getting by, decreasing the risk of feeling overwhelmed by work. Reducing stress is important when the school environment already produces so much of it.
When asked about how caffeine affects her school life, Carine Badawi (I) recounts, “On days where I have tests, I definitely feel as though my testing performance increases because I’m overall in a better mood.” Many, like Badawi, feel the positive effects that caffeine has to offer and use it to their advantage.
Drinking caffeine improves memory, cognitive thinking, and in turn, productivity. Being able to recall information more easily results in students doing better on tests and quizzes. This increases their grades and overall performance at BLS, because always being on high alert helps to overcome the pressure from school.
The productivity boost provides a way to deal with the massive workload BLS pushes onto its students as enhanced concentration helps assignments get done quicker. “Drink a cup of joe and you’ll remember more things from meetings, solve problems faster and be able to focus on (and complete) tasks more productively throughout the day,” states an article from the Entrepreneur.
While reliance on caffeine can cause students to become addicted to the substance, students reap a lot of benefits and can avoid this problem with moderation. Caffeine is a tool; it should clearly not be a lifeboat — overdependence on anything is never good. Students seeking the benefits of caffeine can only do so through mindful use.
Ultimately, caffeine has a lot to offer struggling students. It positively
supports people in all aspects of life. Academic life is full of daily stressors,
and if students can find a good strategy to shoulder that, it should not be discouraged.
No, Students Should Not Rely on Caffeine
Caffeine has long been a staple of many Americans’ morning routine. A rich cup of coffee poured into a ceramic mug gives most people the extra burst of energy needed to get out the door in the morning. In addition to the classic cup of coffee, a greater variety of energy beverages came into the marketplace, including 5-hour Energy and Red Bull, as well as an array of specialty coffees, all of which have contributed to the long-running caffeine craze.
With a surge of caffeine addicts over the last century, America is literally “running on Dunkin’” — and so are many Boston Latin School students. Though caffeine is key to many students’ ability to get through the day, the long-term effects are detrimental to one’s health, and the benefits are short-lived.
Caffeine can stunt growth of a maturing adolescent brain, exacerbate feelings of anxiety and even worsen pre-existing medical conditions. It can also cause students to lose much-needed sleep, in turn affecting their overall health. As young adults undergo growth, it is crucial for them to maintain a balanced routine and develop healthy habits. They should not need to rely on their daily dose of caffeine to get through the day.
Teenagers are especially susceptible to caffeine trends; caffeine is an addictive drug that is easy to become dependent on, especially with the now-popularized aesthetic of the beverages in cute plastic cups. A huge factor of why teenagers are drawn to caffeinated beverages is due to the successful marketing of several coffee companies such as Starbucks, whose themed drinks and pretty toppings are especially appealing.
Though caffeine has risen to popularity around the world, Americans tend to abuse the substance. According to healthresearchfunding.org, 68 million Americans drink at least three cups of coffee every day. About 75 percent of Americans who regularly consume caffeine are addicted, meaning that they will experience withdrawals from the substance if they do not get their daily intake. This is not healthy, and as most of those who consume it will likely admit, they’d be better off trying to maintain a strong sleep schedule and other self-care steps.
The drug confuses the body’s chemical balance by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain, which prevents one from falling asleep. Caffeine also impacts our circadian rhythm by affecting melatonin, which confuses our biological clock. For students with developing bodies, this is detrimental as it may cause us to lag behind in our daily responsibilities and cause the body to slowly deteriorate. It is important, therefore, to maintain a balance, because it grounds us in reality and allows us to be the most productive, healthy version of ourselves.
Caffeine also causes a jittery sensation, making its consumer anxious and sweaty by activating the fight-or-flight response in the body, known as the sympathetic nervous system. In the long-term, the sensation can increase baseline anxiety and the likelihood of panic attacks.
A long-term caffeine addiction will ultimately result in an immunity to its benefits, rendering it ineffective over a longer span of time and leaving an addict with all of the health perils and none of the short-term energy boosts.
Caffeine, like most things, should be taken in moderation. At times, caffeine can give you energy when you need it most, but a habitual caffeine addiction will eventually lead to severe health impacts. It is important to know your body and remain aware of your consumption habits, making for a healthier and more ethical body and world. Instead of reaching for a Red Bull next time you’re thinking about pulling an all-nighter, students should consider caffeine’s potential adverse effects.