The first time I had coffee, I was 14 years old. I made a long black, quickly realizing how bitter it was, and proceeded to add 10 more scoops of sugar. I swore I was never going to drink this revolting beverage ever again.
This vow was short-lived due to numerous all-nighters, restlessly studying for exams and catching up on homework. However, what first started as a need for caffeine quickly shifted to gratitude. I found myself enjoying a refreshing cold brew, basking under the California sun and surrounding myself with endless laughter.
As a Pepperdine student, many of us witnessed or experienced the long queue of students waiting to order their Starbucks beverage. I see students hustling to their next commitment with a caffeinated drink in their hand, hoping to stay awake a little longer.
I witness this from afar, usually sitting at one of the tables next to the fire pits at Starbucks or the low reclined chairs that never stay in the same configuration in upper Mullin Town Square
I sit with my dark cold brew, feeling the warm sun tingle against my skin while watching students busily talk with their friends.
Water begins to condensate on the outside of the plastic Starbucks cup, slowly dripping down to join the small puddle forming on the table. While the single ice cube left in my cold brew looks almost lonely, I feel quite the opposite.
As I sip on my bitter cold brew, the fast-paced college life unravels before me.
I see friends who I don’t see very often and friends I see on a daily basis. Most times, we catch up on the days — even hours — we missed in each other’s lives. We laugh at our mishaps, share the pride in each other’s achievements and comfort each other when we’re struggling.
My friends invite their friends, many of whom I’ve never met, who invite their friends, repeating in what seems like an endless cycle. Laughter is exchanged, new people are met and bonds are created.
I still believe that coffee is a bitter beverage and am still uncertain whether I actually enjoy coffee itself. But I know that the simple process of buying a Starbucks coffee provides an opportunity to laugh, meet new people and slow down.
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Email Michele Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org