Coffee: The Nectar of Life (especially during midterms)
How many cups of coffee do I have in a day? Two? Three? Five? Honestly, the scale teeters towards the latter as midterms loom closer and closer than I’d frankly like them to. Then, much like any assignment on the quarter system, they all come at once: rapid-fire.
I had three midterms this past week over a 43 hour window between late Monday to early Wednesday.
As someone who turns in early, I struggled to figure out how to maneuver them. My teachers were kind: my midterms were each untimed and due 18 to 24 hours after their release. But, true to the Northwestern work-hard-to-work-harder spirit, I’m juggling school, clubs, and multiple jobs. And, did I emphasize the “43-hours” part? For some, who perhaps manage their time better than I, this wouldn’t be an issue. But I made a promise to myself my freshman fall that has yet to be broken: No all-nighters for this gal.
And not just because my brain stops functioning at 10 pm. While studying at home, I’ve been trying to get adequate sleep and take care of myself; We’re in a pandemic and to show up bright and ready for classes, work, and cast my absentee ballot Tuesday morning (please vote), I needed rest. Subtracting two eight-hour intervals from the 43 left me 27 hours. But who am I kidding? I need to eat, drink, do my homework, go to class, and catch up on meetings and workflow assignments. I’m not even going to try to do that math: I didn’t have much time.
So, what to do? My answer: BrewBike cold brew. I wish I were kidding when I tell you I went through an entire pack of OG. Sunday night, my fridge was stacked high with mason jars and coffee cups, each with the familiar tea-bag-like cold brew kit peeking over its edges. I’ll ration these, I told myself. This was a blatant lie.
I was kind to myself on Monday. Three cups. A little extreme? Perhaps, but the tingly-post-coffee feeling seemed worth it as I spent the morning studying, completed onboarding for a position I start the following week and tried desperately to front-load any assignments in the coming days. My first midterm was released at 5 pm, and I zoomed through it (pun intended). Then came a club meeting, a few chores, and emails, and I’m proud to say I was asleep by 11 pm.
I don’t want to talk about Tuesday. This part is embarrassing…wait for it: five cups. Granted, the BrewBike mason jar doesn’t seem all that large, right? So…we’re not addicted…right? That’s what I’m telling myself, at least. My second midterm was more challenging, and I barely managed to finish by the end of the night to stay on schedule after five hours of lecture and an impromptu doctor’s visit to get my flu shot. Do I recommend drinking five cups of coffee? No, it dramatically eclipses what doctors recommend as a daily dose of caffeine. But did I get my work done? Yes, and rather dramatically so.
But, much like that OG cold brew kit tucked in the back of my kitchen cupboard, all good things must come to an end. I was out of BrewBike cold brew and still had one more midterm to complete Wednesday morning. If I’m completely honest, something about my shaky hands from the previous day told me to lay off the iced coffee and appreciate what it had done for me. BrewBike got me through two midterms; I had to complete this journey on my own.
As I uploaded my final Word Document to Canvas, I sent a silent prayer to the Coffee Gods and thanked them for their help. Drinking BrewBike throughout those 43 harrowing hours reminded me of late nights at Bergson and University Library, trekking through the Evanston show with a friend to hole up in Mudd with our textbooks in hand, and, of course, stopping by Lisa’s café at midnight to snag a meal-exchange before returning to the library. For a moment, I was no longer in my childhood bedroom; I was back on campus.