On Caffeine Sources

As your local sleep-deprived senior who has built their staying-awake stamina and is writing this after submitting their college application 10 minutes before the due date, I feel completely qualified to write this review.

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By Emily Chen

As your local sleep-deprived senior who has built her staying-awake stamina and is writing this after submitting her college application 10 minutes before the deadline, I feel completely qualified to write this review. For my fellow seniors, I hope this offers some solace for the next month of cramming supplements. And for the rest of the school, do what you want with this information. We are all sleep-deprived anyway, so without wasting any more of your time than I already have, here’s a review of (and some extra thoughts that no one asked for) your choice of speed juice.

Iced Coffee: 10/10 A classic; you can’t go wrong with it (unless you’re paying $7 for it. Thank you so much, Tribeca). There are, of course, different levels of “good” here. If you get black iced coffee, props to you—I don’t know how you manage to drink it, but props. If you get normal iced coffee from the coffee cart, I want to call you basic, but I can’t—definitely not—because I get coffee here. No, it’s because it's just there: right next to the train station, in your backpack (you know, when everything was normal and coffee was still an illegal substance within the school building). I’m sure it now haunts some of you in your dreams because let’s face it, the halal guy and the coffee cart man are the main protagonists of Stuy. We’re just the supporting cast.

Red Bull: 9.8/10 Red Bull is like the younger sibling that people obsess over at family reunions. You either love it or hate it, but you have to admit, Red Bull is superior to every other energy drink (though, maybe it is the iced coffee equivalent in the energy drink world: can’t call you basic for it because it’s just there). I’ve been thinking, is this the thing we gave the daphnia in freshman year bio lab? Perhaps this was the beginning of Stuy conditioning us to get a caffeine addiction. How many of us actually thought, “Oh look, the daphnia are going crazy. Did that one just die? I now vow to never touch caffeine”? It was more like caffeine = speed = making up two units worth of studying in one night and barely passing a test. (The equals are for all my Java folks; not calling out any classes here, but still gives me nightmares.)

Monster Energy: 6.2/10 Monster Energy is like Red Bull’s big brother that’s less accomplished. I’ll give them credit for having a better design than Red Bull; that never happens to the older sibling. Honestly, it tastes like rubber mixed with Sprite, like if Red Bull collected dust and expired (do energy drinks expire?). Monster drinkers are like the kids who listen to Wallows or The 1975 once and then call themselves ~quirky~ and very much “not like the other girls.”

Coca-Cola Energy: 5/10 Yes, that’s right. Coca-Cola has an energy drink. Did I know that before Googling it? No. Have I tried it? No. Does it work? I’d assume so. Came out this January, so I’ll just call it bandwagon.

Bang Energy: 2/10 If you drink this, I’m going to assume you worship social media influencers. I’ve never seen anyone actually drink this except for the people in sponsored ads on Instagram and TikTok: its logo is basically the TikTok logo. I’m sure the creators of Bang Energy did a great job of loading it with caffeine; I’m sure their marketing team had the right idea; I’m sure if you were left locked in a staircase with bad Wi-Fi and a five-page English paper due next period, Bang Energy could pull you through. But, again, have you ever seen anyone actually drink this? Taking a video of yourself opening a can of this and taking a sip, then posting it on your TikTok isn’t going to get you sponsored—pack it up, Danielle Cohn.

5-Hour Energy: -3/10 Has anyone ever actually taken 5-Hour Energy, or have we only ever seen the TV ads of various businessmen walking around their office, talking about how tired they are and how much work they have to do? It took all 17 years of my life to realize that 5-Hour Energy is a drink and not a pill, so maybe we aren’t their target audience. Consequently, if you take 5-Hour Energy, I’m going to assume you have the personality of an IKEA chair and that half of it is made up of complaining about your life—understandable, but also, no thanks.

1st Period Swim Gym: 20/10 Not a source of caffeine, but if you don’t freeze to death or fall asleep in the pool, I suppose you’ll be awake for at least half of second period. For the freshmen who are doing blended learning, if you want the true Stuy experience, I highly recommend this; you can’t really go wrong. It’s 100 percent effective; I can’t guarantee that it’s 100 percent allowed, but hey, administration can’t rewind time and make you not try it. What are they going to do? Kick you out? Send you home? Good, cause COVID is still a thing.

That’s it; that’s all. If I offended you because you’re just that connected to your choice of caffeine, I’m not really sorry, but I will say that there is nothing wrong with IKEA chairs, there's nothing wrong with trying to get sponsored on TikTok, and there’s not too much wrong with spending dollars on iced coffee. Pick your poison—whatever gets you through the day/night/next three months. This might go without saying, but please don’t drink/take/do all of these at once—I’m not trying to have half the school drop dead like the daphnia.