The day Auburn University students return from Thanksgiving break, the dorms, apartments and houses around campus seem to turn immediately into a winter wonderland. Fake trees are put up, signs and decorations are hung and much of the student body comes alive with Christmas spirit.
This is a concept I’ve never been able to grasp.
Now, don’t go calling me Scrooge just yet. It’s not that I don’t love Christmas, I really do. But to me, December in Auburn isn’t synonymous with the holidays. It’s synonymous with exams. When I think about Christmas, I immediately envision being at home with my family, visiting friends from high school and living in a constant state of relaxation —not the pull-my-hair-out, no sleep, anxiety-riddled week of exams.
While I’ve been at Auburn for four years, I haven’t really had the opportunity to establish a lot of holiday traditions, mostly because I’ve lived in a different place each year with different roommates— not so conducive to making yearly roommate traditions. However, there is an Auburn holiday tradition I observe each and every year: Starbucks Coffee.
Say what you will about Starbucks (yes, I know they are a huge corporation that overcharges for their coffee drinks and put local coffee shops out of business), but lets face it, they have good coffee. As soon as I feel the air get colder outside, Starbucks holiday cups magically appear full of delicious caffeinated heaven (and Starbucks haters, you can’t deny these cups aren’t adorable).
When I was but a wee freshman wandering through my first week of college exams, I was at an all time high stress level. The library was packed, my dorm was noisy… there seemed to be no sanctuary. Until, of course, I packed up my book bag and drove out to Tiger Town for a little coffee therapy. And what did I find, you ask? My go-to study spot for the next four years!
Oh Starbucks, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. One, I love that you are open 24 hours a day. Honestly, if I’m going to wake up at 5 a.m. to study for an 8 a.m. exam, where else would I rather be? Two, I especially love that you will give me free refills on coffee during exam week. As a poor college student, this is a glimmering beacon of hope to my ever-dwindling bank account. Three, peppermint mocha…well, do I even need to elaborate? Fourth, Starbucks used to not have free wi-fi, which for my easily distracted brain, was a precious gift. This lack of internet kept me from constantly checking my Facebook, writing useless tweets, e-mailing my parents for no other reason than to say hi, or wikipedia-ing any random thought that popped into my head.
So thank you Tiger Town Starbucks, my greatest Auburn holiday tradition. With your wonderful coffee and perfect studying atmosphere, you have helped this college student through three difficult sets of winter exams. Let’s hope you can help me pull through one last time.