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Effects of Caffeine on Students at NU

By Anthony Nerio
On December 8, 2011

Many Norwich students rely on caffeine to stay focused in the classroom and everyday activities.

Some students started the habit before coming to NU.

"I have been drinking coffee for six years and I find it helps me to stay up and be focused on everyday tasks," said Patrick Brennan, 20, a sophomore environmental science major from Halifax, Mass. 

"I have drinking coffee for the last nine years," said Sean Putnam, 21, a criminal justice major from Peru, Vt. "Recently started to drink energy drinks."

There are many things that cause students to need an extra pick up.

"Having a cup of coffee in the morning gives me sustained energy for a couple hours," said Putnam. "Later I have a cold energy drink if I am feeling sluggish."

Balancing school work and being a member of the corps of cadets is demanding. "Caffeine keeps me from napping; I don't have enough time to nap," said Putnam.

"I am not really a morning person; coffee is my way of getting a jump start to the day," said Nicholas Quasnitschka, 19, a criminal justice major from Bridgton, Maine.

"When I am dragging midafternoon, I drink an energy drink to keep me up," said Quasnitschka.

Students acquire their caffeine through different methods. Coffee and energy drinks can be purchased at the Wise Campus Center; however, many students prefer brewing their own coffee.

"I have been brewing my own coffee here at school for the last three years," said Putnam. "Still occasionally I purchase coffee and energy drinks at the Mill."

Being environmentally friendly plays a role in how students consume their coffee. "I use a reusable coffee cup, fill it at the chow hall and drink periodically throughout the morning," said Alyssa Shamek, 19, an architect major from Derry, N.H.

"I usually brew and drink two pots of coffee a day depending on my dependency," said Quasnitschka. "I brew my own coffee in my room, I am convinced the coffee is decaffeinated at the chow hall."

"I prefer brewing my own coffee in my room, it has become a ritual or routine here at school," said Brennan. "Without my cup of coffee in the morning, I am missing an essential part of my day."

Although both coffee and energy drinks give students the rush they need, students have a preference on what they use more.

"Many students here rely on energy drinks, for me it is a phase and simply a sugar rush," said Brennan. "I drink coffee more often at NU because of the how it calms the stress and constant hustle of the day."

"Coffee for me is the lesser of two evils, it is more economical and healthier than energy drinks," said Quasnitschka.

 Some students are all about what caffeine does for them psychologically and do not have a preference. "Whatever has the most caffeine is what I am drinking; if I have access to energy drinks, if I am tight on cash I brew my own coffee," said Putnam.

Still other students enjoy the taste more than the effects that come with caffeine. "I love the taste of coffee, not so much for the energy," said Shamek.

"I enjoy the taste of coffee and if available I have it with my meals," said Brennan. "This completes my meal, knowing I can have a hot cup of Joe."

 Some students have noticed their dependency on caffeine translates to their use of nicotine to help them cope with particular situations.

"As a result of my dependency on caffeine, I still use smokeless tobacco products to slow things down when I am to hyped up on caffeine," said Putnam.

"Nicotine and caffeine are very similar, they are habits which keep me focused and on task," said Quasnitschka.

"I use both nicotine and caffeine, but nicotine relaxes me as opposed to keeping my alert," said Brennan.

Students had mix feelings about quitting the habit.

"If you can live without it (caffeine), do that, it is much healthier," said Quasnitschka. "There is no need for peer pressure to be a factor when deciding to drink coffee."

"Eventually money plays a factor into quitting caffeine all together, "said Putnam. Still he sees caffeine being part of his immediate career in the military and recommends water to all students.

"I do recommend caffeine for students only if they need it," said Brennan.

"Caffeine is an addictive substance; I have noticed the difference when I don't have it for a day," said Shamek.

Some students do not want to give up their dependency on caffeine.  "I definitely see myself drinking coffee throughout my life," said Shamek. "Sometimes I get headaches from not drinking coffee, but it is all manageable."

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