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I Went Four Days Without Coffee and Lived to Tell About It

This article was replicated with the format from a previously published article on Cosmopolitan

College students and coffee go hand in hand. Don’t believe me? Walk through your university’s library and count the ratio of coffee to student.

“I drank an entire pot of coffee one time,” Katie Lachman, a senior studying Psychology said. “I didn’t have a big test or day of studying ahead, I needed it just to wake up.”

All-nighters, piles of assignments, and active social lives dominate the world that degree-seeking students live in. We use coffee to stay up later, sleep less, and get more done. According to Justin Hong, a Student Assistant in the Department of Health Education and Promotion at University of California – Davis, students assume that the amount of caffeine they consume is inconsequential as long as they can complete their work.

“As a recreation therapy major, I’m always in the library,” sophomore Ashley Skibba said. “Two to three cups of coffee keep me sane. Last week, I was in the library for 15 hours and a nap wasn’t enough to keep me awake.”

And it’s not just science majors, those in the liberal arts world are just as addicted.

“I literally drink it whenever I can,” Holly Rabil, a senior studying criminology said. “It’s never too late or early to drink it.”

The question that lies: Can college students be functioning members of society, complete their work, and enjoy the college social scene without their daily cup of joe? I decided to find out.

Note: I do not drink soda, tea or energy drinks; coffee is my only source of caffeine.

 

Hours before I took my last sip of coffee and sold my soul to this assignment.

 

DAY 1

Tuesdays are my earliest days. A girlfriend and I have a set coffee date at 8:30 am each week, followed by two classes, a midday workout, and falling captive to whatever assignments I need to be working on.

Being a morning person by nature, the early start to my day didn’t throw me off too much. I only snoozed my alarm twice, rolled out of bed, and headed downstairs for my favorite morning ritual: coffee and breakfast. Except, as I rounded the corner into the kitchen, I remembered that today marked day one of my coffee-less week.

With my lion’s mane of hair, big t-shirt and pink fluffy pants, I stood near my coffee maker, feeling taunted, and unplugged it so that I could stop myself from breaking fifteen minutes into my week of deprivation. With a heavy coffee-bean shaped heart, I reached for my banana and jar of peanut butter and continued on with the rest of my morning.

I walked into Dunkin Donuts to meet Ashley, saddened by the fact that she would be the only one experiencing the taste of my favorite coffee shop. Being a good friend, she only ordered a breakfast sandwich, leaving the mockery only up to my coffee maker.

Between our time together and my 12 pm Pure Barre class, I was great. I was killin’ it! I didn’t need coffee.

Then, as I began walking to my 2 pm class, the headache set in and it was all downhill from there.

 

Lucky for me, that night was not filled with meetings, as my next day would be, so I was free to be as grouchy and hateful as I wanted. Stupid coffee!

I was KO’d by 9:30 pm.

 

DAY 2

Advil on deck, I woke up ready to tackle my day. I found myself alert throughout my two morning classes and didn’t attempt to walk around campus with my eyes closed. Even though a monstrous headache didn’t consume me, a stomach ache did, and I am absolutely going to blame my lack of caffeine for it.

My afternoon class got canceled but was replaced with a group project. As I began the 15-minute walk from my townhouse to the spot we were meeting on campus, I began making a list in my head of things I would rather do than go another day without coffee, and for your entertainment, I wrote it out below:

 

  • Attend a 10-hour chemistry lecture fully sober

  • Be forced to eat tomatoes for every single meal

  • Live a vegan lifestyle for more than two days

  • Sit in the middle of a rainstorm, in a bathing suit

  • Never touch, let alone think, about Reese’s cups ever again

 

But alas, I survived my afternoon slump and was hopeful that my night would turn out to be the same. Albeit, I’m living my most dramatic life right now.

Wednesday nights tend to run long: between a 6:30 pm workout class and then a weekly meeting with the other officers in my sorority, I don’t usually get home until 9:30-10. But I chose to be optimistic, especially because we had agreed to go out for drinks after our meeting. If I could get through the next few hours, a glass of red wine would be waiting for me.

 

DAY 3

I have always been the obnoxious student. You know, the one my classmate’s hate but teachers love. I ask all the questions and then some. I genuinely enjoy being in the classroom.

From elementary school, academics have been my thing. I hated sports, so that was always out of the question. I hated working, so I never devoted more than 12 hours a week to my meaningless job. Naturally, I dedicated all of my time to my head in a book, sitting in the front of a classroom, and as the president of some organization. College has reflected the same pattern.

Left: Me, in Kindergarten, winning Student of the Month for the third time that year

So on this lovely day, I was the polar opposite of that involved, talkative, engaged student. I couldn’t focus; I wanted nothing to do with my homework, albeit my To Do list was growing at a rapid rate; and my mother would kill me for saying this, but I had no idea when I had last washed my hair. I didn’t give a shit and I looked it. So much so that a classmate gave me one glance and said: “You look awful.” To which I replied with a snarky comment and hateful look. But that’s okay — I knew my challenge was a day away from being over and I would return to being the beloved Teacher’s Pet.

 

DAY 4

Friday finally arrived.

I felt like a snail trying to cross the finish line.

Believing I would have handled this quest more gracefully, I signed up for a 6 am Pure Barre class. And no, I absolutely did not make it nor did I hear my three alarms go off.

“You would have been my hero if you made it,” Lynsey Sain, my good friend, and fellow coffee connoisseur told me.

It was 8 am when I finally awoke from my dreams of bathing in coffee and running through Starbucks like I had never tasted the pure bliss of Pike’s dark roast. Yes, I’m being dramatic and no, you may not judge me.

Luckily, there was no headache or stomach ache today. It was going to be a good day and tonight was my sorority’s semi formal, which I was using as my celebration for making it this far without cracking.

My boyfriend and I arrived at the venue early to help check people in and make sure no hoodlums tried to use Fake ID’s or caused a scene. I was alert, had my red heels on, and was determined to stay on the dance floor all night.

And for two hours, I did and that’s a win in my book. Here’s to drowning myself in the largest cup of coffee I can get my hands on tomorrow.  

Gabriella is a twenty-something Floridian who has taken her love of waterfront living and sandy toes to Wilmington, NC! When she's not imprinting her body frame on the beach or stocking up on excessive jars of peanut butter, Gabriella can be found in the lines of Dunkin Donuts scrolling through Pinterest in the search of the perfect apartment decor. Her dream profession is to work for a women's magazine with an emphasis on millennial empowerment. Follow her on Twitter, @gabby_dionisio! 
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