Red Bull: is it really worth it?

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Alexandra Dimitri ’16

The night started out as the most productive in my life. Cranked out that senior seminar essay, studied for my AP Environmental Science test, and even completed my homework for that night and the night after. Sounds great, sounds like quite an accomplishment doesn’t it? But at what cost? Three hours of sleep and four cans of Red Bull discarded in my garbage can.
Red Bull. A seemingly magical energy drink that comes in a patriotic and enticing can. I remember being a kid and seeing a Red Bull promotion car in Cape Cod when it first came out. They had samples and were offering little cans to pedestrians on the streets. I was so scared of this “energy drink” that I refused to try some and watched as my friends and family enjoyed their samples. I even thought that I wasn’t “of legal age” to be able to have such a powerful drink. Their mascot is a bull, is it not?
Ever since then I have avoided Red Bull like the bubonic plague. I did not understand why high school and college students were so obsessed with this drink. I did not get the addiction and I had never experienced that kind of powerful energy before. 
Last month I had an immense homework load, and for some reason I came to the conclusion that that night would be the night that I would finally try this mystical drink.
Upon my first sip I told myself that it really wasn’t that bad. Although you could only taste the sugar, the drink itself did not have a horrendous taste. I quickly guzzled it down and then began to work on my homework.

Alexandra Dimitri '16
Alexandra Dimitri ’16

Three more Red Bulls later and I was working in hyperdrive. Sem Paper? Done. AP Environmental Test? Studied. English Essay? Done. Tonight’s Homework? Finished. Tomorrow’s homework? Done.
It is because of this small can of energy that I was able to complete a record amount of homework in a very small amount of time. And so I told myself that I would repeat this night’s decisions if I ever had this amount of homework again. Which I probably would.
I made this decision and then showered and got ready for bed. By this point it was now around 2:00 a.m. I got into my pajamas and hopped into bed ready for a “good night’s sleep.”
To my horror and disbelief I experienced just the opposite. I woke up almost every hour in a cold sweat and could not return to sleep at 5:00 a.m. when my body decided that it needed to wake up right there and then. I then realized no level of productivity would ever equal the lack of sleep and frantic night I had as a result of my decision to drink red bull.
According to livestrong.org, Red Bull can cause significant “weight gain. . . insomnia. . . [and] chronic conditions.” Other effects can result in tooth decay, a loss in calcium, or even death, when combined with alcohol or vigorous exercise, according to abcnews.com
When I asked my friends and classmates what they thought of the energy drink, I was determined to find someone who faced a similar situation. I was shocked to discover that almost every single person I spoke to felt the same way. We love the productivity it produced, but were disturbed and annoyed by the lack of sleep and shakiness red bull caused.
Even more disturbing was our unanimous conclusion that we would probably consume red bull again the next time we desperately needed a way to focus on homework and get assignments done. We found that although the effects of the drink were damaging and risky, the amount of work we finished was superior to these harmful effects. Does this mean that our generation values success more than health, or is it an indicator that our society needs to make a change in the way that we take care of our lives and our bodies?
-Alexandra Dimitri, Managing Editor and Video-Content Editor