What Your Caffeine of Choice Says About You

Illustration by Bridget Rios

Linda Chong

Opinions Editor & Senior Copy Editor

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s finals season. We’re wrapping up our undergraduate degrees, completing those week seven assignments, and signing off for hot girl summer. Some of us have already checked out because we rely on grind sessions 24 hours before the test. It’s where our best work comes from, anyways. All this is to say, these last few moments of spring quarter can’t happen without a common denominator: caffeine. Though it comes in many forms, each one is specific to your character, your values, and most importantly, your deadlines. Here’s what your choice reflects about you.  

  1. Coffee from a coffee shop

It’s either Monday noon or early Friday morning. You’ve designated this day to be your ultimate grind session because you’ve finally accepted that your paper is due tonight. Let’s do the productive thing and motivate myself with a treat, you say, as you make your way to Starbucks or Cajé. Earbuds, sunnies, and an intentionally-coordinated lazy outfit. “A vanilla latte with oat milk and brown sugar syrup, please.” 

  1. Coffee made from home

Tuesday morning, it’s only right that you wake up and immediately turn on the coffee machine. It’s efficient to have it run while you wash and listen to NPR’s Daily News. Although the pandemic has kept us inside, that doesn’t excuse the same Star Wars tee and spandex you’ve had on for a week now. It doesn’t matter if you have to catch up on last week’s lab and forum posts — change, get your brewed store-bought caramel roast, then get to work.  

  1. Tea

Who has stacked readings and lectures to catch up on, yet still decides to read their latest book indulgence? Who continues to water their plants and actually manages to keep them healthy and green? Who piles dishes until the sink is completely and unbearably full of dirty mugs and half-eaten dinners? Tea-drinkers, that’s who. 

  1. Monster/energy drinks

Put on a shirt, it’s time for finals. Put away the die, it’s time to participate in section, for real. Put down the White Claw, you can’t get buzzed and write your final paper’s draft by tonight. Put in your headphones, your housemates will be cheering downstairs in 45-minute intervals. Let’s utilize that momentum with the raging Monster flowing in your bloodstream.   

  1. Yerba Mate

What a nostalgic setback to in-person instruction. Remember going down to the Arbor to grab a quick pick-me-up with a six-inch Subway and a mint Yerb, heading toward Mountain Side for an unhinged study session? It’s not the same. The library is still empty, and walking back from your reservation feels like passing through the bare bones of UCSB. Word of advice? Just grab Yerbas from the IV Mart and go home — you can do your library routine next fall. 

  1. Caffeine pills

Babe, there’s no need for this. You might argue that it’s more efficient. Within 30 minutes you feel the kick, and you can concentrate for as long as that 150-word forum post requires of you. But don’t you see? You’re talking faster than people are comfortable with, you’re guzzling pills during finals because they “help” you, and you’re only eating one big dinner every day. Put down the bottle, start eating breakfast, and drink three cups of coffee like everyone else. 

  1. Vitamins

How’s hot girl summer going? Your skin is radiant, you’re drinking extra lemon water, and you’re hitting that step goal! Keep up the good work, and finish spring with a bang. No need to send in your draft to the TA, it’s probably cohesive considering you’ve written your outline twice. Don’t forget to register for summer sessions, you know you want to take that upper division for six weeks and not 10. 

  1. Kombucha

Brown birks, tote in arm, and hair curled with Drybar dry shampoo, you make your way out with the girls and a simple gingham blanket. Don’t forget your sunnies! Kombucha will get you through your occasional outdoor picnics. Health-Ade or some homemade brew should work fine, because kombucha is love, kombucha is life. To be honest, people wish they were you; they want your Pinterest lifestyle because you’re already living your hot girl summer life. Sure, you might have a multiple choice on Monday, but your color-coordinated notes and self-made Goodnotes stickers will guide you to an A. 


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