By Jordan Davidson |

Caffeine is a big part of most students’ college experience. Walk two feet in any direction on campus and you will find many students carrying mugs, thermoses, and to-go cups filled with their favorite caffeinated drinks. With on-campus locations such as Common Grounds in the SUB and the Starbucks in Moody, grabbing a coffee fix on the way to class or a study session is easier than ever. Not all students, however, choose to conform to the caffeinated life. As a matter of fact, some students choose to go against the social norm of drinking copious amounts of caffeine.

I began to gradually avoid drinking tea, coffee, and soda in the middle of my freshman year. Although it took me a while to wean myself off of it, dropping caffeine was one of the best decisions I ever made. Not only did I eliminate some unwanted and unnecessary sugar by leaving the caffeinated life, but I also had improved energy levels. Instead of using coffee as a last resort to keep my energy up throughout my day, I began to put more focus on getting the right amount of sleep and eating the right foods to stay energized.

There are many scientific reasons to eliminate caffeine. First of all, caffeine is an addictive drug that can be harmful if over consumed or mixed. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, over 400 milligrams of caffeine can cause a wide range of negative symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, increased heart rate, nausea, headaches, and dysphoria. In more severe cases, an overdose of caffeine can actually lead to seizures and death.

Knowing that drinking caffeine has so many potentially dangerous effects constantly affirms my decision to remove it from my diet. And I’m not the only one who has benefitted from avoiding drinking coffee, tea, and soda. My roommate, Yael, who loves to drink tea began to move away from caffeine a year ago when she started to notice how manipulative it was on her natural routine.

 “I choose to avoid caffeine because I want my body to get the rest it’s asking for,” said Yael. “If I drink more caffeine, then I’m not listening to my body and getting the full rest I need.” 

Because we both still like to calm down at the end of the day with a cup of tea, Yael and I discovered other alternatives to getting that midday energy boost. Whether it was refining our sleep schedules, eating more strategically, selecting decaffeinated drink options, taking a nap, or exercising consistently, re-energizing the body without caffeine became a more beneficial, healthier reality for the both of us.  

As a busy political science student with a job, two internships, and involvement in multiple student organizations, I know what exhaustion feels like. Although dropping caffeine may seem like a somewhat sad and impossible prospect for some, staying energized without that Cowboy Coffee from Common Grounds is a choice that comes with good options and great results. It might be a difficult transition, but eliminating a potentially harmful drug from your diet and waking up energized never felt so good.

And that really is the tea.