Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

Drinking coffee: we have all done it at some point in our lives. In fact, 54 percent of us over the age of 18 drink it every day. It is hard not to! Just look at West Chester – we have a Starbucks right on campus, and another one less than a mile away on Gay Street. Off the top of my head, I can think of several other coffee shops, including a newly opened one right inbetween the two. And there is a good reason for it – caffeine is beneficial to our mental, social, and physical health. It keeps us awake, alert, and focused (mental health). It also gives us an excuse to casually hang out with friends (social), and the antioxidants in coffee are better for the human body than those found in fruit (physical).
I was never an avid coffee drinker in high school. I remember wondering why anyone would like coffee – it made your breath smell, tasted too strong, stained your teeth – the list went on. I did not understand how a simple drink could have such an effect on people. My mom was a completely different person once she had her cup of coffee in the morning. Before she had it, everyone, even the cat, knew to stay out of her way. I did not understand her point of view about coffee until last year, my freshman year.
In high school I never actually had to stay up late; I always chose to, playing around on Facebook and other mindless distractions. First semester of college on the other hand, I realized I did not have a choice about whether or not to stay up late. I had to, because there were not enough hours in the day to get all of my work done! And even worse than the fact that I had to be up late was that I had to actually be able to concentrate and learn at those hours. It was right around this time that drinking coffee became a daily (or tri-daily) occurrence for me.
I felt like I could not get anything done if I did not have a cup of coffee that morning (or afternoon, or evening). But when I did, I could accomplish anything. No task was too big, and not just because of the effects of the caffeine. It had become a mental thing. I associated coffee with success because it made me feel as if I could do anything. It helped me to de-stress. With a cup of it in my hand, I felt invincible.
Now, coffee has become a social event. On campus, we meet up for “coffee dates” on a regular basis. Coffee dates are just right: short enough to not take a huge chunk out of our day, but long enough to catch up with close friends. I cannot tell you how many old friends from previous semesters I have connected with in the Starbucks line here on campus, and I am sure others have similar stories. These are the kinds of interactions we need for our social health and well-being. Between school, work, internships, and any other daily duties, there is not a lot of time during the week to really talk to people. Sometimes we have the weekends, but oftentimes even those are dominated by obligations and responsibilities. The little interactions during the week, quick little five minute conversations with someone we have not seen in a while, are the things that keep us going.
Believe it or not, there are quite a few positive health benefits to drinking coffee! We absorb more antioxidants from coffee than from anything else. Coffee could lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reduce the chance of getting skin cancer for a woman, and reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, alongside many other benefits.
I feel confident in my assumption that, in the scheme of things, coffee can be considered the survival guide to life, in a traveling cup.
Rachel Goodworth is a first-year student majoring in middle grades preperation. She can be reached at RG803370@wcupa.edu.
 

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