Written by Jamie Henderson
As college students, almost none of us are strangers to the notorious “all-nighter.” Staying up late to finish assignments or study for tests is simply our way of life. Sometimes the best way to stay awake, or start up in the morning, is a steaming cup of joe. Many Southern students believe that having caffeine served on campus would be a welcome and beneficial revolution for student life. However, there are reasons why Southern avoids caffeine and why you should too.
Ever since Ellen White wrote that drinking coffee and tea is “an injurious indulgence,” the Seventh-day Adventist church has made abstinence from caffeine a staple of their health message. Some of White’s other warnings include avoiding alcohol, tobacco and meat-based diets, all of which have since been confirmed to cause numerous health problems. Adventist Review writer Elizabeth Ostring sums up the Adventist view on caffeine well: “God used Ellen White to give us this advice, not to keep us from something good, but to help us live healthy, balanced, positive lives.”
Regular and excessive imbibing of caffeine can cause serious issues, especially for young people. According to sources such as the Mayo Clinic and Medical News Today, caffeine use can lead to headaches, insomnia, anxiety and depression. It can also lead to reduced energy, alertness and concentration — all aspects of life that college students depend on the most.
Steven E. Meredith of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine ascertains that “Caffeine is a psychoactive substance. . . . [it] interferes with sleep, [which] plays a critical role in learning.”
Some psychologists are currently studying the link between regular caffeine use and future drug/alcohol abuse. Kenneth Kendler of the Virginia Institute for the Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics discovered that excessive caffeine consumption “doubled the risk of . . . use of cannabis, cocaine and alcohol.”
Whether you are concerned about these risks or not, the choice to drink caffeine is a personal one. Even so, Southern is under no obligation to provide its students with an addictive substance that has been shown to cause harm. No matter what our personal convictions are, when we chose to attend Southern, we agreed to abide by their rules, rules that were set in place not to harm us but to improve our quality of life.