We’re over halfway into the month of September, which means for a lot of us, we’re back into the swing of school. If you’re in college you probably are finding yourself beginning to endure the grind that results from a stacked schedule of classes while trying to balance other obligations like work, volunteering, social outings, etc. What happens when you attempt to prioritize all of these? For a lot of us, we sacrifice our sleep. Exhaustion follows. Okay, maybe that isn’t the case for some of us, but it can definitely become a reality. Whether you find yourself running on very little sleep or you get a good night’s rest, coffee is your friend when you’re in school.
Getting used to a new schedule means adjusting the way you go about each day, so you may currently find yourself trying to navigate how to integrate your coffee consumption with your life now that school has started. Below are a few things to think about if you’re a student who loves to drink coffee.
How You Get Your Coffee
When you’re a student on the go, finding time to get your coffee can be one of the challenges you face during the day. Many schools have coffee shops or places to get grab-and-go coffee on campus, so if you pass one of these on your way to class you can conveniently get some during that morning walk. If you’re on the hunt for coffee, make sure to scope out the locations available to you at your school. There may be one location or a variety of places to go to depending on the size of your school. Chances are there are more than one whether or not you know it!
Your school may have that one coffee spot that gets all the hype. Maybe it’s super chic and buzzing and you want to go there because you often run into people you know there. If you’re a socialite and like to see people moving about, this is the place for you. You can have conversations with others in a less quiet setting and often spontaneously catch up with friends who just happen to be there as well!
Make sure to go searching for other shops on or near campus that aren’t as busy, especially if you’re someone who likes to sit down in a quiet area to get homework done or to simply take a break and think. If you find yourself having a booked schedule and you’re usually in a rush, this sort of place may also be better for you since less traffic goes through and inevitably less lines.
Another approach to consider taking as a student is making your own coffee. If you live in an apartment or a house, you probably have a kitchen that easily has room for some sort of coffee maker. Even if you’re in a dorm hall, you often can find space to have one at your convenience. The Keurig brand is very common among coffee consumers, and one of the benefits to looking into investing in one is that they come in a variety of sizes with different functions that can work with your living space. The coffee pods for these are both easy to store and easy to use. Usually all you need to do is put the pod in the machine, add water, press a button and… TA DA – coffee!
Additionally, you might consider trying instant coffee. You can get various packets of coffee that can be dissolved in water if you’re someone who has very little time to make or buy a drink. The downside to using this is that the drink may be watered down if you have too much water. Also, if you’re on the go and using this, you probably do not have any other add-ins like sugar or creamer to adjust the taste to your liking.
When you go to a grocery store you might also consider picking up some bottled coffee, whether it’s a Starbucks bottled Frappuccino (which you can freeze and blend to make a real frappuccino if you’re feeling fancy, by the way), or bottled cold brew.
These are all ways to get your caffeine fix that you can experiment with and integrate into your daily schedule!
Managing What You Spend
Coffee shops on or near campus can be convenient when you’re in a rush, but they’re often pretty pricey. You most likely can find cheaper options farther off campus. If you’re a college student, you may relate to having to really focus on budgeting from week to week. When you have expenses on your mind like gas, groceries or rent, finding ways to fit coffee into that budget can be tricky.
One of the best practices you can do as a college student is make a monthly budget for yourself and then break it down from week to week. Think about how often you want to buy coffee and how much that will cost you. Now look at what that weekly or monthly coffee expense is and determine what percentage of your weekly or monthly earnings that makes up. Your percentage may be alarmingly high. What about other expenses? This is why it is important to manage what you spend.
While it may be tempting to grab that five or six dollar beverage every day on the way to class, a meeting or work, your finances may not be in the best position for you to do so very often. If you are aware of how much you want to realistically spend on coffee each week, you may be more likely to pass on buying coffee even when you’re tempted to. Coming up with a set amount you will spend on coffee each week will allow you to plan out when you actually need it and when it is simply a want that you can forgo.
Don’t get me wrong, it is totally okay to treat yourself. Don’t feel bad about splurging a little. The important idea to note is keeping yourself in check when you find yourself wanting to splurge all the time. Challenge yourself to spend less this week than last, and find another way to get that caffeine if you need it. To reiterate what was mentioned in the “How You Get Your Coffee” section, investing in machines to make your own beverages or even buying bottled coffee can save you money in the long run.
If you are so passionate about coffee that you just can’t do without and you want it made from a coffee shop, you could also consider getting a job at one. Coffee shops, even on college campuses, will often allow you a free drink with each shift you work. This is a win-win situation because you not only are getting your caffeine without spending money – you’re also making money because you’re working!
These are just a few tips to consider when figuring out how to get your coffee on a budget.
Focusing on Sustainability with Consumption
In a world with increasing environmental issues, focusing on sustainability while considering how you consume is becoming more common. Does your school take sustainability initiatives at the coffee shops on campus? If this is something that is important to you, make sure to look into it.
If your school has taken action by ditching straws for caps that you can drink directly out of or if they’ve switched from using plastic to paper products, these are great initial steps being taken towards higher sustainability. Even if you still feel bad by creating some waste, using products from a place like this is supporting the steps being taken in the right direction.
Something you can do if you’re concerned about the sustainability of coffee shops on or near your campus is ask to talk to someone who could tell you more about how they are acting towards sustainability. Even if they have no practices in place, you may in fact bring up ideas to them that they may want to implement.
If you like to make your own coffee, do some research about the coffee beans, or grounds or pods you use. Are they produced in a way that isn’t creating unnecessary waste? If not, consider switching to a different brand that does. Also, making your own coffee is a great way to be more sustainable than buying from any shop that gives you something disposable to drink out of. Plus you can often support local and small businesses by buying their beans/grounds to make!
Being back at school can be overwhelming at times. You have a hundred things to do and think about on any given day, and coffee can be an aid in getting through that. Hopefully you can be mindful of the way you integrate coffee consumption into your life during the school year. I wish you nothing but success in your classes and life outside of them. Now get going, you’ve got this!
~Written by my friend, Lauren.
Hey There Coffee Addicts,
As the leaves start to change and the apples are ready for picking, we see students moving back to school with restrictions and professionals working from home as the new norm. People are social distancing and even required to wear masks outside in certain areas. Change is difficult and to say at the least, times are stressful. With 16oz Days, I’m hoping this post helped take your mind off of things today or at least gave you something to take home.
As always, I hope you have a have a great rest of your week. We’ll chat soon.
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