By Staff Writer Valerie Mosier
Graphics by Steven Moreno
There is an epidemic among the youth at Timberline. In every direction, a tired teen can be spotted placing a mug, cup, or straw to their mouth, constantly fueling their addiction. This epidemic has spread so intensely that its sources can be detected nearly anywhere. Whether it is a 32-ounce Dutch Bros cup filled with 90 grams of sugar disguised as a tasty energy drink or a seemingly innocent Keurig machine in the corner of a classroom that gets more use in a day than the actual water fountains, one thing is for certain: some students are addicted to coffee.
Senior Niya Xavier has an inside look into the source of this epidemic while working at the Blazer-frequented coffee stand: Dutch Bros. Xavier notes that around 60-70% of the customers at Dutch Bros are recognizable regulars. “Often times we will [recognize] a car in line and know what drink they will want and start to make it,” said Xavier. Xavier’s own relationship with coffee is fairly moderate. “I used to be really obsessed with coffee, but it got to the point where instead of energizing me, I started to feel more tired,” said Xavier. “So every now and then I treat myself with a cup of coffee or another drink, but it’s not an everyday thing anymore.”
Another student, senior Noelle Geddis, has sunken deep into the caffeine abyss, and has little hope in her ability to overcome her caffeine dependency. She reminisces on simpler days when coffee was merely a treat. “In seventh grade, I’d have a cup like twice a week when I’d go to school, and then eighth grade and freshman year, I started having a cup every single day, and it’s just gotten worse from there,” said Geddis. At Geddis’ most addicted point, she would drink two to three coffees a day, starting with a homemade cup in the morning, a trip to purchase another at lunch, and a final cup during a study session at Cutters Point.
When asked what she thinks would happen to her if she were to skip her coffee beverages for a day, Geddis said, “I’d probably die.” Despite this sobering conclusion, when asked if she thought her caffeine addiction was a problem, Geddis promptly said, “no.”
While Geddis is quite the epitome of a caffeine addict, other students enjoy caffeinated beverages on more moderate grounds. “I’ll wake up in the morning and I don’t want to go to school, and I’m like ‘wait, I can get Dutch Bros!’” said junior Ryleigh Hawkins. “I use it almost as a motivator, I’m not necessarily addicted to it.” Though Hawkins has also been plagued by caffeine dependency at certain points, especially finals weeks, she generally maintains a healthy balance. “I realized how much money I’m just throwing away, so I’ve tried to just steer away from it,” said Hawkins.
Other students, like senior Bjorn Soriano, condemn the apparent caffeine dependency among Blazers. “By the amount of Dutch Bros coffees and Starbucks cups around the classrooms, there’s definitely an addiction at Timberline,” said Soriano. Soriano sees no silver lining in the Starbucks cups. “It’s addictive, you don’t want to depend on it for your energy source.” Soriano believes there are other methods for boosting energy, including taking cold showers in the morning, drinking water, and stretching.
Though the perspectives on the caffeine epidemic vary greatly throughout Timberline, there seem to be both benefits and drawbacks. “It’s case by case with how coffee affects people,” said Xavier. “Sometimes when the morning people come and get their coffee it just seems to lighten up their day. But I think if they’re regulars who come all the time then it’s kind of on the other end of not so good for them.”
With this escalating epidemic, students can be on the lookout for some common symptoms of caffeine dependency: spending massive amounts of money on caffeinated drinks, suddenly finding themselves at a coffee shop without knowing how they got there, becoming unable to function as a human without a sip of coffee in the morning, and/or finding that their blood has actually turned to coffee.