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Coffee and the College Student

By student Douglas Wittman

Every waking day as a college student you develop a daily routine of getting up in the morning… or afternoon, getting dressed and rushing out the door to make it to your first class. Most students hail the smell of freshly brewed coffee as a source of energy, or just a means to make it through their day. Coffee shops near campuses all around the nation are flooded with thousands of students in the morning awaiting their daily ritual. According to foodandbeveragereports.com coffee sales for 2007 reached almost $40-billion in the United States alone. If you are a student you most likely have already become a regular at a local shop where the workers already know which drink you normally order and when you will be there to pick it up. That is the case for quite a few students and professors at Rogers State University when visiting their local Java Dave’s in Claremore, OK.

Many of them have seen his face, and know who he is. He is also a student who attends classes up on the hill. Aside from what you might think, he is not your ordinary college student though. Caleb Gerber started pursuing his college education in the fall of 2006 with the intent of getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology, back before RSU built the new student center. In the fall of 2007 decided to drop out and take a break from his degree. That’s when he had a life changing experience.

On August 3, 2007 Gerber was driving home with two of his friends from a night of hanging out at the casino, and seeing a movie when his front left tire blew out on highway I-44. When trying to regain control of his car, he collided with another vehicle in the oncoming lane at about 65 miles an hour. The accident left him with many major injuries.

"I had two skull fractures, two neck fracture, um… chipped a few teeth, I cracked my ribs, I bruised my lungs. I had my left wrist broken um… I had my right arm kind of diced up by glass, the right femur broke and it burst out by the knee dislocating my knee.  Then my right ankle broke, and the top of my left foot broke.” Gerber stated.

The accident left him in a drug induced coma for 5 days and in the hospital for 8 more days after he came to. Up until later that December he was confined to a wheelchair. The accident had changed his mind about dropping out of college and he decided to go back to RSU to pursue an English degree.

"I didn’t really know what I could do as a psychology major so I decided to switch to English because I really want to teach.”

Gerber plans to become a history teacher at a high school after he graduates.

Like the college Gerber has grown a lot in his experiences at RSU, meeting new people and fulfilling his life on campus. He has been enjoying his college career ever since.

"I’ve had a lot of fun in college,” he exclaimed.

This is his third year at Rogers State University, and he currently works at the local Java Dave’s.

"I love this job! The main appeal of this place is that I get to do homework and work. Also, this place is really laid back here.”

Many students and faculty make their way through the shop every morning including RSU’s President Dr. Larry Rice.

"He’s becoming a regular… He’s started coming in a lot more often.”

Gerber even remembers many the people that come into the shop and the drinks that regulars order on a daily basis.

"I know there’s this one girl Cassie who comes in almost every day. Who will get her coffee, and sit down with her best friend Davey. There’s also Domino girl, I don’t know her name yet, but she gets a domino every day.”

So if you ever become a student addicted to coffee, or a local who just loves to start your day off with cup of Joe, you might run into Caleb Gerber at your local coffee shop. He’ll greet you with a smile and send you on your way with a little cup of inspiration.