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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Opinion — An in-denial caffeine addict

Finding better studying incentives.
Annamarie Parker/NW
GETTING OUTSIDE — Taking a break from studying at Pebble Beach to breathe and enjoy one of the sunnier days in Marquette (with a coffee of course).

Unhealthy habits, natural to us, are a part of life. Lately I have noticed something in my day-to-day life that temporarily put me in an odd state of mind. If I am sad, I go indulge in coffee to drown my sorrows. If I am happy, I celebrate with coffee. If I am stressed/frustrated, I turn to coffee to calm me and help me focus. If I am bored, I take a drive — where does this lead me?

A new coffee shop.

It’s simultaneously the root of my life and the thing that will probably one day not lead me down the most quiet and scenic path. It is like the single vice I refuse to let go of, because it genuinely gives me serotonin I do not find elsewhere. It is a comfort for me, and a consistency I have developed into my routines.

I would happily divide down my last few pennies for an iced vanilla chai latte with a shot of espresso from Third Street Bagel, but buying my own pack of bagels and cream cheese is far too much money and effort.

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There is always the impending reminder of “Why don’t you buy more groceries, so you don’t have to go out?”  The answer to that is simple for me — I’m one person, I never eat the food fast enough and it feels like a waste. Another reason is cost— sometimes I just don’t want that much and/or have the time to put something together, as I’m always on the go.

The same thing could be said about making coffee at home for me.

I do it, don’t get me wrong, and my at-home order is far simpler than anything I get anywhere else — but it does not bring me half as much joy.

There is a rush of three-second endorphins because I’m ‘being resourceful’ and ‘I made it myself,’ then they’re gone and I’m back right where I was. Staring at a sad half-filled mug of pitch-black coffee.

We all know that just because we ‘have it at home’ does not make it better, and I certainly don’t have the fun little tricks of a barista, although I have considered getting the job just to learn them. Not to mention Googling recipes can only get you so far before you are up to your knees in ingredients that cost more than it would have to have just bought the cup of coffee. And if you’re like me, you’ll try it a few times until you’re certain that you absolutely without a doubt can’t taste it ever again and again, it goes to waste.

That was how I felt during the COVID-19 quarantine when Dalgona coffee blew up online, for example. I also noticed that, after this time, I started indulging more and more.

This is not uncommon for college kids as a lot of us rely on coffee as an incentive to get through assignments and day-to-day run-ins – but I realized lately that it is more than that for me. Even with coffee in hand, it is not enough, and we don’t even talk about the lingering guilt of spending the money.

For me, I believe going to get coffee is more about the social aspect of it — a reason to get out, see people, go somewhere. To drive, listen to music, get away from assignments and work and just be immersed in society again. And instead of to going to Target and dawdling around aimlessly to entertain myself for an hour or so, I’ve started to take that energy elsewhere and even bring my studying textbooks along with me. I’ve found that hiking, or just exploring hidden places in Marquette – like Pebble Beach or Sunset Point – are great ways to have more natural incentives like collecting rocks, getting fresh air, taking scenic pictures, tanning, seeing dogs and so on.

I have also been in a kick of befriending strangers and asking friends to go places with me I do not enjoy going alone, like bars or unfamiliar areas, even if it is to just sit there and pass small conversation while reading our textbooks. Maybe this even includes taking my art supplies and spacing out the amount of work I do.

Am I quitting coffee anytime soon, however? Absolutely not. Just taking in a bit less.

I cannot say how long this newfound energy will last, and I am still guiltily indulging in my one cup of coffee a day, but it’s a nice reminder that we are surrounded by opportunities we forget we have and that comfort zones and routines are great – but sometimes they’re not what we really need. They are just what we know.

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About the Contributor
Annamarie Parker
Annamarie Parker, Copy Editor
I am an English, Writing major with a double minor in German and journalism. I'm also pursuing my TESOL certificate while working for Housing and Residence Life. I love to travel and meet new people.