It is officially the beginning of the semester. Everyone is figuring out the rhythm of their schedule and trying to enjoy the calm before the storm. Soon enough the work will start piling up and the lines for Starbucks coffee will be almost out the door. But are these lines the signs of a caffeine consumption problem in college?

There are a few things to discuss and consider before trying to answer that question. People often forget that caffeine is considered a drug. Caffeine binds itself to the receptors in your brain meant for adenosine, the chemical that makes you feel sleepy. This basically allows you to maintain focus and feel more energized.

Due to these effects, University of Florida college students often drink coffee so they can work hard and play hard. Your professors and bosses expect a lot out of you because you go to a well-respected university. The expectations of your friends can be high as well, as they may want you to go to dinners and parties frequently. After being pulled in so many directions, it really isn't surprising that so many students resort to drinking coffee. However, there is a major difference between using coffee to help you stay on your A game and using coffee to replace or push off sleep. In my opinion, where you fall in that situation on most days, determines if you have a healthy relationship with caffeine.

Additionally, how caffeine affects you personally determines if you should drink coffee at all. There are lots of symptoms you can experience from having more than about 3 cups of coffee a day, which is technically the maximum amount of coffee a person should drink. You can suffer from headaches, dehydration, irritability, an upset stomach as well as other symptoms. Personally, I know I experience these symptoms way before the third cup of coffee, but I know other people who do not have problems until then.

Since the answers to these two questions majorly differentiate caffeine consumers, you cannot look at a length of a coffee line and make the judgment that this is evidence for all college students having an unhealthy relationship with caffeine. Yet, I can say that many people I know do not have a healthy relationship with caffeine. Thankfully, this is a problem that can be fixed. Improving your time management and respecting your limits are the best ways to help you get more sleep in college. This way you do not have to depend on caffeine. Needless to say, this does ask for a fair amount of effort and self-evaluation, but it will absolutely be worth your time when you find yourself becoming a happier, healthier person.