Recently, I’ve been finding many a brave soul on campus who have all managed to live their undergraduate career without finding it necessary to have their morning dose of the greatest hot caffeinated beverage known to mankind: coffee.
“What do you meeeaaan you don’t drink coffee. As in, you don’t like to drink it but you have to or- no, no, wait. You never liked the taste? What’s not to like?! No, but hang on, how do you stay awake in class. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU TRY TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE HOW ARE YOU DOING THESE THINGS-” I exclaim profusely, as my caramel macchiato with whip-soaked brain melts, and the grande pumpkin spice latte-world I’ve come to love screeches to a halt.
In all seriousness though. I didn’t become a serial coffee drinker until my first year at U of T, but that’s not to say I lived a caffeine-free life before. I was notorious for drinking a can of Red Bull every morning before class in high school, but was advised by friends (alongside health care professionals, and the internet) to swap to a moderately healthier alternative and that’s where coffee came in. I thought it would be interesting to see how I managed if I made the switch to a completely caffeine-free lifestyle, just for one school week. Here is a log of my coffee cleanse.
Feeling optimistic, but that could be because I was Sunday-night well-rested for the day. Not much else to report, except that I was left with no idea what to drink in between classes.
Took a two hour mid-afternoon nap at Gerstein. Oops. But I justified that a power nap cancelled out the need to have my usual cup-a-day. Definitely feeling myself start to drag though, and my notes from the day have small, awkward gaps because I zoned out multiple times in class (probably dreaming about coffee/sleep).
Made it to hump day! At this rate, I’m a little desperate, trying to cut out certain things in my lifestyle that will supposedly make me more susceptible to falling asleep (e.g. not sitting on my bed right after class, not eating bananas/pineapples/other sleep-inducing foods, etc.). Fell asleep at 7PM and woke up at 2AM, unable to fall back asleep with a 9AM class the next morning. Cool.
AN HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES LATE TO MY TWO HOUR 9AM CLASS after last night’s debacle. Bought a can of tuna a couple days earlier to bring to school (tuna specifically, because high levels of protein = great for metabolic function = energy. So those of you who work out in between classes or need an energy boost whilst studying, get on that!). Unfortunately, I was way too tired in the morning to figure out my roommate’s new can opener. You know what they say about the best laid plans.
Day 5 (FINALLY):
I made plans with a friend to go to Starbucks today before deciding to go coffee-free. You know that passage in the Bible where Jesus is tempted by the Devil during his 40-day fast in the desert? Not trying to exaggerate here, but this came pretty close. Even though I managed to enjoy my Caramel Apple Spice, I had to resist the urge of asking them to spike my drink with three shots of espresso. Also, the smell of coffee beans everywhere. Brutal.
Anyway. My point is, drink coffee if you need to, and don’t if you’re fine without it. I’m sure that if I carried out this experiment longer and made more active attempts to wean myself off coffee, I’d eventually be able to function as per normal. Some of us just get tired more easily than others and we all have to find our own ways to stay on top of everything. This (questionably) mild caffeine-dependency gets a little frustrating at times, but if it gets me through a day of 5 hours of class, on top of extra-curriculars and studying, then so be it! So kudos to those of you who have been strong enough to resist the earthy, heavenly aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee – but I am not about that sleepy life. Now hand me my large double-double and let the heart palpitations begin.
Until next week, U of T (or, as I like to say, 6-10 cups of coffee later) –