lessons i’ve learned at coffee shops

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to start going to coffee shops for the intellectual aura, aesthetic appeal, and socializing facets. Inspired by some articles relating the importance of coffee houses to monumental moments in history and motivated by my academic advisors, I managed to procrastinate only half a year. Since commencing my caffeinated escapade, I’ve dared to try a grand total of four coffee beverages (three of which I might consider drinking again). So, I’m redefining my aspirations to include both coffee and boba shops (the latter I visit religiously); after all, I live in the Bay Area.

My past peregrination of beguiling potation has rendered me with the following life advice:

  1. Baristas work hard, but they can’t always be perfect. Sometimes they spell your name wrong, even if it’s as common as “Stephanie”.
  2. Unpopular opinion, but coffee is overrated. I much prefer Java, the language of code. Why get hooked on caffeine when you could instead be exploring the wonders of the for-loop? Coffee does, however, make for great discussion.
  3. Coffee shops are a great place to conduct your college interviews. They’re casual, dynamic, hipster, and colorful––attributes your interviewer will subconsciously associate with you as well.
  4. Know that not all drinks are created equally. For instance, the one drink that I would not consider drinking again was the first one I tried: a straight black, no sugar, no cream hot coffee. Bad choice for a person raised on 100% fruit juice. Different places feature different options, prices, and populations.
  5. Dare to explore. Get friends (as I did) to help push you out of your comfort zone. Try new drinks even if you might not like them, go to shops in another city, or go a different time than you are used to (you may see a whole new population of coffee goers in the mornings versus evenings, on Tuesdays versus Thursdays).
  6. Take yourself on a coffee date. It may sound weird, but it’s important to be in touch with yourself and your reality. Simply observe the ebb and flow of people; engage in thoughtful dialogue with yourself rather than with another.
  7. People are desperately connected to technology; don’t be one of those people (all the time). Whatever happened to reading actual books or engaging in intellectual discussion? It seems as if everyone simply coffees up and plugs in. Sure, get some work done, but stop and smell the [coffee] now and again. One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had was when an old man saw me studying linear algebra and struck up friendly conversation about his good ol’ days studying math at Caltech!

Also, remember to say no to plastic lids and straws (bring your own cups or straws if you must). Save the turtles!

x steph kayla

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