Consumed by caffeine: CCDS students rely on energy drinks and caffeine

Kathryn Black

By Caroline Gentile ’13, News Editor

After a long day of school, many students at CCDS feel like they could use an energy boost to get through the long night of homework and extracurricular activities that lie ahead. For most, that means downing an energy drink, like Red Bull, or stopping by Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix. Whether we drink it for a purpose or for pleasure, caffeine can definitely make us feel more energized and less tired for as long as six hours.

Molly Petre ’13 drinks coffee and tea to stay awake to finish her homework, and resorts to carbonated caffeine drinks like Monster or Red Bull to give her energy before sporting events.  “The key to caffeine,” she said, “is that it gives you lots of energy for a short amount of time, but it usually doesn’t last long.  However, I personally don’t feel the ‘crash’ you hear commercials talking about.”  Though caffeine’s effects don’t last forever, Petre added that they last long enough to allow her to accomplish what she was aiming for, whether it be finishing one of Mr. Black’s seemingly endless readings or getting that extra boost of energy to perform well in her dance competitions.

Senior Cody Pomeranz, avid drinker of iced tea, believes that “at times, caffeine can act as a placebo.” Because of his heavy workload both in school and in extracurricular activities, he “generally goes to bed around 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning and wakes up at 6:30.” “ I need iced tea to get me going,” Pomeranz said.

Not only does it provide energy, but caffeine can also taste good, especially in coffee, tea, and sweetened carbonated beverages. Many popular drinks like Coke, Mountain Dew, Monster, and iced tea contain large amounts of caffeine.  Most doctors say that a teenager should only consume about 100 mg of caffeine daily, but just one serving of any of those drinks can exceed that limit. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 16 ounces of Monster contains 160 mg of caffeine and 8 ounces of coffee can contain between 95 and 135 mg.

Because of its benefits, caffeine is the weapon of choice for hard-working students in their battles against fatigue.  However, despite its beneficial qualities, caffeine consumption can sometimes be more hurtful then helpful.

Some short-term effects of caffeine include anxiety, dizziness, headaches, and jitteriness. A headache and the jitters hardly seem like a large price to pay for increased mental alertness, but in the long run, over-consumption of caffeine can augment the risk of having heart problems, and may also result in calcium loss, which increases the risk of osteoporosis. Studies have also shown that caffeine can be addictive.

For example, when Pomeranz tried to quit drinking iced tea, “it was very hard to get going in the morning.” Likewise, when Connor Frohn ’13 attempted to stop drinking Red Bull for a month as an experiment, it was very difficult. “Rather than getting six hours of sleep per night,” he said, “I got around two or three. I became even more tired, and I just didn’t feel like myself.”

All in all, caffeine is a source of energy for many students at CCDS, and although it does have negative side-effects, it can be quite helpful in fighting off fatigue to keep up with the heavy workloads and demands of high school—when consumed in moderation, of course.

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