Caffeine and MC Students, An Unhealthy Relationship?



Editor’s Note: This article is part of a collection of articles relating to student life during finals week that appear in the Dec. 2 print issue. 

Whether they were up all night studying, partying, or having a Netflix marathon, it is not uncommon to see a lot of students on their way to class every day with a coffee in hand.

At Manhattan College, there are two Starbucks locations, a Dunkin Donuts just off campus and coffee and tea available all day at Locke’s, the campus dining hall. Caffeine has never been hard to access.

With finals week approaching, there is generally an increase in the campus-wide consumption of caffeine as students prepare for their exams. But one of the main things that that students can forget about caffeine is that it is in fact a drug.

College campuses everywhere have an overabundance of caffeine and students who drink a little too much of it.

John Martelotti, a current freshman and Starbucks employee, admits that he thinks students here do drink too much coffee, but he tries to limit himself.

“I drink a medium cup of coffee everyday. I love anything hot from Starbucks, but Dunkin Donuts has Dunkaccinos and better iced coffee. Too much coffee makes me tired though, so I drink caffeinated soda as an alternative,” Martelotti said.

Many students may not be aware that consuming large amounts of caffeine at once can be hurting their bodies and actually making them more tired. Drinking coffee anytime in the afternoon or evening can severely affect their quality of sleep that night. This leaves students with heavy eyelids the next day, so they go for another cup of coffee, and the cycle continues.

“People who drink a lot of coffee everyday may need to drink more of it to get the same effects. They may also become dependent on it to the point that they develop withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly stop drinking it,” WebMD reads.

So while coffee can be delicious and help students get through studying, too much caffeine can cause symptoms like headaches and sluggishness.

However, not all students are addicted to coffee and prefer to just enjoy it when they want to.

One of these students is Griselle Sanchez, an MC student standing in the Starbucks line one morning.

“I’m buying a coffee because I’m kinda cold and it’s pretty early. I don’t really drink too much coffee, but today I was in the mood,” Sanchez said.

When students are not drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee, it can actually have some benefits. Coffee makes can make drinkers more alert, energized and less stressed. It is loaded with antioxidants that are good for the immune system and it has even been linked to reducing the risk of diabetes. Another upside is that it can boost the drinker’s mood because it stimulates the release of dopamine in the drinker’s brain.

However, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. The Mayo Clinic recommends that adults consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day, or 4 cups of coffee. The truth is that it just has to be consumed in moderation, which students should keep in mind especially when studying for finals.