The first years: Coffee: the lifeblood of college

Rachel Abbey

Everyone tells you college is a time to learn about responsibility. You’re finally entering the real world. No one makes you go to class, you have bills to pay and Mom’s not doing your laundry anymore.

That’s all true. Well, sometimes Mom still helps with the laundry. Beside the point.

Freshman year was the time when I finally learned about irresponsibility.

I’m your classic type-A, perfectionist workaholic: valedictorian, high school athlete, member of countless clubs — not to mention a set-in-stone career plan. I’d get to college, get through it as fast as possible (hopefully three years) and get out into the “real world” to be a big-time journalist in some city, preferably New York.

I’ve always been so caught up in the future that I forget about the present.

When I came to Kent State, I immediately threw myself into classwork and the Stater. Don’t get me wrong, I did and still do love the Stater — and I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever known there. But it was Metcalf Hall — the dorm next to mine – that made freshman year.

Like many perfectionists, I have a habit of going on minimal sleep and maximum coffee. I started stopping by Jazzman’s for some coffee after my early English class — why I decided on the 8:45 a.m. one with the depressing title (The Epistemology of Loss), I’ll never know.

One day, I noticed a classmate in front of me. Turns out we had more than just horrible scheduling skills and caffeine dependencies in common. After-class coffee stops together became a regular thing.

Somewhere along the line, we fell into a larger group of kids, mostly boys, from the dorm next door who also had coffee every morning. It was a simple thing — an hour or so of overpriced caffeine, cigarette smoke and emo music blaring from the jukebox — but it made freshman year, for all of us.

That hour every day helped me form some of the best friendships I’ve ever known, and it forced me to live for the moment. I realized that not every minute of my day can, or should, be governed by deadlines, class times or club meetings. There are more important things in life.

“Coffee time” kept us sane. It was a time to talk about anything and everything on our minds — life, love, lack thereof — or, to put it all aside for a while. College is just as much about trying to figure out your beliefs, your convictions, your opinions — yourself — as it is about memorizing the various tenets of your major.

That’s not to say my first year I didn’t find a favorite class (that heinously early English class let me feel like a member of the Dead Poet’s Society) or that I wasn’t moving ahead in my career. (I’d gone from a lowly news correspondent to the academics reporter, with a few breaking stories under my belt.)

But it’s the little moments that I remember best — the ones when everything fell into place and just felt right: playing late-night games of Capture the Flag in Small Group, drinking espresso around Eastway’s fireplace on Sundays and holding loud sing-a-longs to our favorite songs.

Life’s all about balance.

Coffee anyone?

Rachel Abbey is a junior newspaper journalism major and copy desk chief of the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].