Working Smarter with Caffeine.

On days Monday through Friday, local stores such as Dunkin’ or Zumis flood with teens eager to get their morning cup of coffee. Whether it’s from a lack of sleep due to homework the night before or exhaustion from sports practice, a majority of high school students intake caffeine daily. Though a con of this is the fact that side effects of drinking coffee/caffeine are “nervousness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and increased blood pressure” (Magnus). It’s common for teenagers who are used to drinking coffee every day not to feel the symptoms. As supported by Ipswich High School senior Courtney Stevens, when  asked if she experiences symptoms when drinking coffee such as being jittery, unable to concentrate or feeling sick, she simply said “no.” Furthermore, I am led to believe that the intake of caffeine by teenagers during or prior to school would improve their academic performance rather than damage it. 

To begin, I find it important to support this idea with a stakeholder who can see the difference first hand. Teacher Señora Harvey at Ipswich High was asked if she noticed a change in her own academic teachings when having caffeine, “Yes, I usually have two cups and if I don’t, I don’t have a lot of energy and I’m not really positive,” she states. Similarly, when Courtney Stevens was asked the same question, she too said “Yes, I feel so much more tired and less focused, and my brain feels scrambled [when I don’t have coffee].” Although taking the opinion of stakeholders who drink coffee each day is biased, published online articles also agree. “Coffee can significantly boost academic performance by increasing energy levels, improving focus and enhancing cognitive abilities” (American Dining Creations). With this knowledge, society may see an increase in coffee drinkers among both students and teachers. In a way, this could help students who had thought caffeine would only make them more jittery by now, seeing it could do the opposite, and bring forth even more educational benefits. 

Though the idea of caffeine/a cup of coffee during school benefiting students’ educational mission seems simple and easy, it may not be all so cut and dry. Teacher Señora Harvey countered her point that caffeine is a necessity for her school day by saying that when it comes to students having coffee, it doesn’t affect them. “In the morning, no one is awake whether they have coffee or not. So I don’t see the performance boost.” Moreover, caffeine takes effect in a person 5-30 minutes after intake (Alberta), meaning if coffee truly were to cause a change in one’s academic performance or energy boost, it would happen within the time she sees her students. 

In addition, I find the arguments supporting the idea of students or teachers’ academic performance being boosted through caffeine to outweigh the counter. According to Blue Coffee Box, caffeine increases a person’s metabolic rate, and positively affects their brain cells. Considering this, teens and adults will experience health benefits while also boosting their energy, grades, and/or teaching. To end, the real question may be if good grades and solid energy justify spending $4 on a cup of coffee throughout the school week.