Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Study Drugs

            $10.  1 pill.  6 hours in the library.  A.
            Besides the illegality of the transaction, there isn’t much stopping college students from buying, selling, using and abusing “study drugs.”  The notion of whether or not drugs like Adderall and Vyvanse should even be prescribed in the first place is certainly interesting, but I’d rather not address that in this blog post.  The real issue I’d like to address is that it seems like far too often the average student now relies on a pill to make it through assignments and exams.
            First, it’s important to understand the appeal of a drug like Adderall.  College kids are taught to see it not as drug, but rather as a solution.  Once tedious, difficult, and seemingly impossible work, after taking an Adderall, becomes simple and achievable.  Who wouldn’t want to take a pill that would help them stay up all night and concentrate on their work?
            Therein lies the true problem.  Personally, I’ve never cared too much about grades.  Sometimes, this is a horrible thing; my parents have always nagged me about underachieving and putting in more effort.  My philosophy has always been that I enjoy learning, and I do what it takes to learn the material for a test.  It’s not like I skip assignments or neglect to study for tests, but sometimes I just come to a point where I’ve studied a fair amount and I’m no longer interested in doing busy work or memorizing terms for some arbitrary exam.  This has many times accounted for the string of B’s that have always outweighed the A’s on my report cards.
            I’ve never really seen the appeal of Adderall.  I honestly just don’t really think getting an A justifies taking a drug that ruins my appetite and alters my already abnormal social tendencies.  A lot of people do, though.  As I sit here in the library, taking a break after 6 hours straight of studying, half the people in this room are addied up, turning pages and scribbling notes.  Fighting tough curves and shortened sleep schedules, undoubtedly their exam grades are benefiting (although, probably not their physical wellbeing).  I don’t really blame them for doing it, but I do a see a fault in the culture.
            Just as steroids made baseball a little more exciting for a few years, Adderall has revolutionized the way students approach exam season.  Yet, fans quickly grew weary of watching home run after home run, and the crackdown on performance enhancing drugs in baseball has led to the return of premier pitching and multi-faceted talents.  So, maybe kids will keep popping pills—after all, who doesn’t like hitting more home runs—but I have hope that someday soon students will realize that sleeping, eating, and time-management are all important ingredients that are conspicuously absent from their current lives.

            In the end, study drugs are undoubtedly a growing trend in universities.  That being said, I’m confident that they will stay just that—a trend.  Even the most exciting trends come to an end eventually (anyone remember the Harlem Shake?)  Only time will tell if this one does.