By Olivia Hamilton, Staff Writer

(photo courtesy of google images)

(photo courtesy of google images)

There’s no denying that, as college students, we all will do just about anything to fulfill our caffeine addictions. Already late to class? You can be sure I’m still waiting in this dreadful line at the Dunkin’ Donuts for my pumpkin spice iced coffee (melted sugar please). Running low on cash? That won’t stop me from getting my latte from the coffee bar even if it means I might be a little late paying rent.

With it being time for finals I am sure the addiction has grown and the lines at the coffee bar are getting longer and longer. Personally, I’ve increased my daily average consumption to about three large coffees a day. Despite our questionable efforts to guarantee that we have a caffeinated drink in our hands, I am beginning to believe that we would be just fine without coffee, or any caffeinated drinks for that matter.

Don’t get me wrong, I love anything caffeinated. However, when I really gave it some deep thought, I found myself wondering how well it works in terms of keeping me alert. Caffeine might keep me awake, but does it really keep my system running in a way that is healthy?

According to an article on livestrong.com, “Excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to side effects such as a shaky, jittery feeling, a rapidly beating heart, nervousness or dizziness.” So, yes, it will keep you awake, but this type of alertness may make you feel uncomfortable.

I’m guilty of feeding into my caffeine addiction, most times I find myself drinking it because I’m a sucker for a sweet drink. If you’re drinking caffeinated drinks for the taste, then go for it. But if you’re drinking caffeine to stay awake, you may want to explore other options that will be beneficial for your health.

Livestrong.com also states that there are multiple ways to help keep you awake and energized throughout the day without the help of caffeine. “Healthy methods of a providing an energy boost include getting regular physical activity, reducing your amount of stress or working less, eating a diet that contains several types of low-glycemic foods, such as nuts and high-fiber vegetables and drinking water throughout the day.”

A good gym workout could easily replace that cup of coffee in the morning and get you pumped for the day. Even if you just take a quick half-hour out of your day to do some cardio, you might be amazed at the results.

There is a common misconception that working out will only make you feel even more tired than you actually do. I completely disagree. Oftentimes I walk into the gym feeling groggy and out of sorts; once I’ve gotten my workout in, I feel like a whole new person. I feel more alert and much more prepared to tackle any of the day’s problems.

I am by no means an anti-caffeine person. In fact, I frequent the coffee bar on campus to get that large sunrise blend coffee I dream about all through class.

However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t think twice about my ways of recharging.

Consciously realizing that there are healthier, more effective ways to stay awake is something that we all need to realize.