The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School


Caffeine may not be good for you, but it’s not all bad

How to find a balance of social (caffeine) drinking

I made my first cup of coffee at age 11 and somehow became the family barista at a young age. I took pride in my creations, shaping little hearts onto the tops of my parents’ foamed milk. I feigned maturity by sneaking sips of a drink I certainly did not enjoy at that time. Flash forward to junior year, where I’ve chugged a whole Monster by the end of Dr. Aegerter’s American Cultural Studies class. It took me the entirety of my highschool career to find a balance in my caffeine consumption. But it certainly didn’t need to.

When I was younger, I thought that drinking coffee was pretty much the coolest thing you could do, especially because my parents – both public health researchers – insisted that I not.  When the whipped coffee craze came around circa 2020, I was the first on board. I begged my parents to buy me the instant coffee powder needed for the recipe because, let’s be honest, whipped coffee is more sugar than coffee, and they ultimately conceded.

By my sophomore year, I would call myself a social drinker – a social caffeine drinker. I was always down for a Starbucks run I couldn’t afford or picking up some Yerba Mate from the grocery store. I discovered that I was a “beverage girlie” at heart, and still am. My love for coffee and tea was just that: a pleasant pick-me-up.

However, as it does most, junior year hit me like a Mack truck. Between juggling “Tatler” and theater, impending academic pressure and attempting to maintain some semblance of a social life, I was constantly exhausted. My fun little coffee-drinking habit turned into an addiction. 

As I began working a weekend bakery  job that started at 5:30 AM, coffee turned to energy drinks, followed by Coke Zero to keep me going throughout my shift. School was no better, as I would stop to buy myself a Monster almost every morning, careful never to mention it to my parents. In very teenage-parent fashion, they had given up dissuading me from drinking coffee, but certainly drew the line at energy drinks. During this phase – also unfortunately correlating with my emo phase – I remember a friend pulling me aside after one English class, solemnly asking if I was okay. Apparently my leg bouncing and smudged eyeliner had been cause for concern.

For some teenagers, and for many adults, this type of caffeine consumption may not appear obviously problematic. In fact, I have many friends whose daily energy drinks I often steal a sip of. Their caffeine consumption may still be an addiction, but one less problematic in their day-to-day lives.

My story, however, was different. I am a naturally anxious person. Even when I appear calm and grounded, I am probably overanalyzing a conversation I just had or thinking through everything I have left to do that day. My brain tends to work at a pace too fast for me to interpret. Caffeine exacerbated my symptoms, increasing feelings of restlessness, insomnia, and occasional physical symptoms such as dizziness and stomach aches. On top of that, my brain started working even faster. Although convenient for debating with your friends, constantly racing thoughts are not conducive to good-quality focus or general relaxation. However, worried that I might lose to exhaustion and fall behind on my work, I refused to give up caffeine.

After months of a vicious cycle of excessive caffeine consumption and persistent fatigue, I finally drew the line. Upon returning from my GSL trip to Thailand, where I drank lots of tea with my host family, I quit caffeine altogether. Thus began my self-prescribed six-month hiatus. 

This period had its ups and downs. I felt my general well-being improve, and even through the undeniably hectic fall of my senior year, I managed to keep up the energy needed to get all my work done. However, life still happened. There were sleepless nights and obscenely long days when I found myself craving a boost. 

Thus, as I find myself closing out my high school experience, you could say that I landed somewhere in the middle. For me, coffee and energy drinks are an absolute no. They may be delicious, but high doses of caffeine cause my anxiety to spiral, and are simply not worth it. However, I have been able to return to my sophomore-year mindset of social caffeine consumption, where I can find small moments of satisfaction in preparing matcha or chai for  my loved ones and I to enjoy. And, occasionally, I just need something to help me get through the day. As with most endeavors in life, moderation is key. 

To anyone wondering why they feel awful while drinking four black coffees a day, you may find your answer here. Some of you may be just beginning to drink coffee. Some of you may have never considered any sort of caffeine consumption, in which case, you are doing better than most of us. However, to all of you, I urge you to listen to yourself, take care of your body, and find balance.

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About the Contributor
Lucy K. '24
Lucy K. '24, Editor in Chief
Review: Lucy: The Movie (★★★★☆) Released in 2006, Lucy was an instant classic the day she hit movie theaters. The movie’s character development is stellar but her hair color is wildly inconsistent from scene to scene. Top scenes include going to the ER after closing night of Les Mis, Top Chef-style action shots from the bakery, and the movie’s musical interludes. Had audiences roaring when she caught a 140-pound fish with her bare hands. Critics agree that, even sixteen years after her release, Lucy remains a controversial yet profound and deeply moving picture that merits a watch. “Lucy is energetic and fun. Like a dad who wants to go fishing.” – Cassia W. ’23 “Talking to Lucy is like being at a farmer’s market.” – Lorelei S. '25

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