Crazy for caffeine

75% of teenagers consume caffeine on a daily basis, with many students using it as a means to stay awake and attentive for school.



HOOKED: for some students, coffee is more than a drink, rather an integral player in academic survival.

The abridged version of this article appeared in the Feb. 2023 print edition of The Mirror. This is an uncut version.

From a Starbucks at every corner, to energy drinks in every store, caffeine has become increasingly prevalent in people’s everyday lives — especially among students.

“It’s the rush — the instant gratification,” junior Thomas Kim said. “Sometimes I drink it and there’s a big feeling of relief in the morning that comes with it.”

A 2019 study conducted by the National Library of Medicine found that nearly 75% of teenagers consume caffeine on a daily basis.

Sophomore Dwayne Famenia started drinking coffee in middle school. For him, coffee isn’t consumed solely for the purpose of needing energy or staying awake. It’s more than that.

“I’m really just fond of the smell, the flavor and the experience,” Famenia said. “Maybe that’s because caffeine is a drug, and it’s some psychological thing that I don’t understand.”

As students juggle classes, extracurricular activities and the stress that comes with them, many turn to caffeine as a way to stay focused and productive. 

“I notice that it’s really good to keep you in, to focus on your work and be awake for those long hours of studying,” Famenia said. “It helps you function as a student. When I was in Academic Decathlon, for scrimmage, we had to do seven finals in one day. The only thing that got me to focus and helped my mind race to understand and recall answers was coffee.”

Famenia feels that he has become too dependent on caffeine.

The only thing that got me to focus and helped my mind race to understand and recall answers was coffee.”

— Dwayne Famenia

“If I don’t have caffeine for a week, I’m completely fine,” he said. “But if I don’t have it for another week, I can’t function.”

While caffeine can be beneficial for students when consumed in moderation, overuse can have negative consequences such as headaches, dizziness and loss of sleep.

“It’s obviously unhealthy,” Famenia said. “I am aware of the effects. It’s pretty scary, but I just don’t think of those effects when I have my coffee at 3 a.m.” 

There are many alternatives to drinks with high levels of caffeine. Drinks like peppermint tea and energy-boosting smoothies can help you start your day without the harmful effects that caffeine can cause. 

Although students have different opinions about their reliance on caffeine, the stress from endless school work causes a repetitive pattern when it comes to caffeine consumption.