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Combatting Coffee Addiction as a College Freshman


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The first semester of your freshman year presents plenty of daunting experiences: adjusting to a new class schedule, preparing for the first testing cycle, and planning for the next four years of your life. The incentive for students to stay focused and study longer makes coffee the perfect supplement. I tried coffee for the first time during my freshman year, one week before the big calculus final. In moderation, coffee can be a useful tool but in excess, it can be a hindrance.

As an educator, I am often asked questions like “what is the number one advice for studying X”. My response is universal because a key part of being your best is getting the proper amount of sleep. Studying at university is no exception. Coffee can pose some problems when adhering to a regular sleep schedule. The cycle can be vicious if unchecked: Drink coffee to study longer which leads to sleeping less which leads to being tired and needing more coffee. If you notice that it is harder to fall asleep or you are feeling drowsy throughout the day or have a heightened level of anxiety, cutting back on the caffeine could help.

Throughout my life, I have cut back on coffee numerous times. Recently, I quit drinking it completely by a spur-of-the-moment decision to skip my morning cup. Quitting cold turkey was harder than necessary and the accompanying headaches were unpleasant. If you are looking to cut back on caffeine I would suggest doing it gradually. In an ideal situation try to lower your usual intake over a holiday break or leading into a weekend. That way, if you have any headaches or drowsiness associated with the withdrawals it is less likely to impact your school performance. Just like with your academics, set small and achievable goals. Perhaps try to more strictly limit the hours in which you drink coffee. Then gradually decrease your intake by a cup per week from there.