Addicted to the bean

Streisfield is one of many university students who drink coffee daily.
Photo: 
No matter the time of day, there’s always one thing on my mind — coffee. 
 
I get a high from its distinct smell and taste, and one sip and I feel like I can conquer the world.  
 
My coffee addiction started at a young age. I’d like to think my mom fed it to me while I was in the womb, but it actually began years later when I was 10 and stealing my parents’ leftover Starbucks. 
 
My parents tried to stop this habit by telling me about coffee’s damaging effects and how I’d never grow an inch taller than 4’7”. But when it came down to choosing between my height or another taste of the roasted bean, my decision was easily made: coffee. I’m currently 5’4” and couldn’t 
be happier. 
 
In high school, I would classify myself as a casual drinker. I drank it because I wanted it, not because I needed it. But that quickly changed when I entered university. 
 
It was only in first year that my addiction got serious. I took advantage of the endless amounts of coffee available in the cafeteria. I made it a routine to have a couple cups at lunch and more at dinner, drinking on average 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day. Thanks to the caffeine, I was going about my day in super speed — doing everything faster and more efficiently. 
 
With coffee pumping through my veins, I was genuinely a happier and more energetic person. It felt great, until the moment when my excessive coffee drinking started to take a toll on me, mentally 
and physically.
 
A couple months into my coffee high, I was overcome with fatigue. Despite throwing back a copious amount of caffeine, I was constantly tired. 
 
At that point, I was drinking so much coffee that my body had built up an immunity. A caffeinated coffee before bed didn’t faze me, in fact, I would be out cold in minutes. 
 
While fatigue didn’t stop me from getting my usual fix, the shakes did. On days when I overdosed on coffee, I would suffer from crazy shakes. When it came to putting pen to paper, my once legible handwriting would resemble that of a fifth grader’s. 
 
It was then when I decided to cut back on my coffee intake and limit myself to one cup a day. I found happiness and energy in other alternatives, such as working out and drinking loads of water. 
 
To be honest, there are days when I slip and relapse into old habits. One coffee isn’t enough to keep me going for a long day’s work, but I’ve managed to have some self-control and have found other alternatives to get energized. 
 
 
Sarah Pedro, Con Ed ’17, had a more extreme experience with the addictive taste and benefits of coffee. She started drinking coffee back in high school to combat stress and fatigue. 
 
“I started working crazy hard back in grade 11,” she said. “I was always sleep deprived, so I kind of depended on coffee to help me get through the day.” 
 
Pedro drank coffee religiously all throughout high school and in her junior years of university. While she enjoyed coffee for its distinct taste, Pedro craved caffeine and so she added caffeine pills into the mix. 
 
“I was just getting tired of always having to sip on something,” she said. “So I thought, ‘why not just have caffeine pills?’ It’s like having the same amount of caffeine [as] a cup of coffee, it’s just in a pill form.” 
 
While some students, like Pedro, enjoy the efficiency of the caffeine pill, others remain fixated on the original caffeinated beverage of coffee. 
 
In 2012, Queen’s Hospitality Services retail, dining and catering outlets recorded 3,500,000 cups of coffee to be consumed — not including the three Tim Hortons outlets on campus. Today, coffee culture is still going strong –– like our coffee.
 
Pedro was once a contributor to this trend until she experienced the bad effects of caffeine.  
 
“I spent a lot of time in the library this one night, and I had just been drinking coffee throughout the entire day,” she recalled. “I probably had like three or four cups, and then I also took a caffeine pill or something. I remember working sitting in Stauffer and I reached this moment, where I was so shaky from the caffeine.”
 
“I couldn’t properly work. I could feel my heart rate beating so quickly.”
 
Feeling overwhelmed and sick, Pedro rushed home to be in the comfort of her house and rest off the shakiness.
 
Today, Pedro no longer excessively drinks coffee or takes caffeine pills. 
 
I, on the other hand, still enjoy the timeless taste of coffee. While I may limit myself to one coffee a day now, that coffee really makes a difference. 
 
Without it, I would be a train-wreck. More importantly, I wouldn’t be able to write this. 

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