Swapping Coffee for Chaos



By Victoria Lambton

As a junior-year college student working two jobs, taking 18 credit hours and barely managing to find time to breathe or sleep, I rely on one fundamental lifesaver: coffee. With each hour passing by like it were a second, I have become dependent on coffee and its caffeinated powers to get me through each day. When I decided to experiment with my dependency and attempt to give up coffee for a week, I went in with the intention to play with different forms of caffeine to see what worked best for me and my daily routine. Five days later, I managed to survive the experience. Join me in reliving five of the hardest days of my college career.

Monday: (Main source of caffeine: Pop)

To say my first day was absolutely miserable would be an understatement. From working a seven hour shift the night before to getting four hours of sleep, I could hardly manage to pull myself out of bed. Naturally, I was running late for class and found myself reaching to make a fresh pot of coffee before it hit me: no coffee. For an entire school week. Five days.

I promise, I’m not being dramatic. I grew more irritable as the day went on,  getting annoyed at the smallest of things. Simple pen clicks  and slow walkers rotted me to the core with irritation.. I nearly fell asleep in class and at work. I genuinely thought I wouldn’t be able to get through a full 24 hours, let alone a week, without my precious, steaming cup of coffee.

In an attempt to feel somewhat awake, I drank pop throughout the day which failed miserably. For the first time since I could remember, I went to bed before 9 PM.

Before falling asleep, all I could think about is how this was a terrible idea.

Tuesday: (Main source of caffeine: 5 Hour Energy)

I survived another day! Sleeping for a total of nine hours left me feeling fresh and awake, more so than I had the previous morning. Though I longed for a steaming cup of brew,  I had time to eat a proper breakfast before heading into a busy 14 hour day.

I decided to consume two five-ounce bottles of 5 hour energy, since one bottle had around the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Although I had a lot of hope for this drink, I felt like it didn’t make much of an impact on my energy levels. I started to grow tired throughout the day and found it hard to pay attention in class or to do my homework. From noon onward, all I wanted to do was return to the comfort of my own bed and fall asleep.

Wednesday: (Main source of caffeine: Red Bull)

You either hate Wednesdays or you love them. In this case, I hate them.Wednesdays can either represent the middle of the week in a positive way (“Yay, only two more days until the weekend!”) or they can come off as a fly you just can’t manage to swat away (“Why is this week so long?”). And I wish I weren’t exaggerating when I say it felt like there was a horde of flies swarming around me all day.

I bought a 20 -ounce can of Red Bull with the hope of it bringing me immense energy and motivation. Well, that plan failed miserably, much like the five hour energy. It probably didn’t help to gulp it down in under an hour, leaving me nauseous with its tangy, sugary taste. Although my day wasn’t as busy as a few of my other days, it was still excruciatingly hard to get through classes,  work and meetings.

I gladly left Wednesday behind and was ready to get to the tail-end of my school week.

Thursday: (Main source of caffeine: Red Bull (Again)

At this point, I was in the home stretch. I had one more day ahead of me before being able to drink my sweet, delicious coffee once more; therefore, I had a more optimistic approach. That is, until my friends went on a coffee run and left me with an iced tea. All I wanted to do was reach over and grab one of their Dunkin Donuts iced coffees. I could almost imagine taking a nice, satisfying sip to satiate me for another forty or so hours. But all I could do was watch on helplessly and jealously.

Thursday tends to be my busiest day of the week, since I had school until five and work until midnight. Once again, the Red Bull really didn’t do anything to steady my energy and keep me from yawning every other minute. I desperately counted down the seconds on the clock until I could return to my apartment and let the day be over. Unfortunately, 24 hours seemed more like 48 hours, and I eventually fell asleep in a heap of exhaustion as soon as I arrived at home.

Friday: (Main source of caffeine: Nothing!)

That’s right, you read the word ‘nothing’ correctly. I woke up, went to work until 11 AM, and then went right back to bed for another three hours. Eventually, it was time to work another eight-hour night shift. Since I could finally sleep-in on Saturday, work wasn’t as terrible as I had expected. I was glad for the school week to ultimately wrap-up so I could return to my regular, coffee-induced returned. Day turned into night, and night turned back into day (Saturday, to be specific).

Reflecting back on this week, it has astonished me as to how many naps I have managed to fit in, despite having such a time-consuming schedule. I found small luxuries in the fifteen-minute power naps I would sneak in when I could, something that wouldn’t normally happen in my coffee-prominent school weeks.

Friday proved manageable to get through and when Saturday came around I could hardly contain myself. I happily made an entire pot of coffee, which I proceeded to drink in its entirety, relishing every desperate gulp.

Although this was a fun and interesting experiment, I think the week has gone to show coffee will always be an important, necessary staple in my life.