Pep In Your Step
by: Robert Vine
The life of typical university students straddles the fine line between fulfilling our academic responsibilities and attempting to make the most of our precious youth. Before marriage, children and acquiescing to tragic 9-to-5 drudgery – replete with heavy doses of malaise and routine – we are at the most opportune time in our lives to use the 24 hours we are allocated. Some days might end at 11, others at 4, others segue seamlessly into tomorrow.
What’s expected of us is more than could fit in a day: social, romantic, sexual, extracurricular, résumé-building and academic commitments demand our bodies and minds like unremitting taskmasters. Standards and competition are higher than ever, and if you intend on competing in this high-paced plugged-in world, you will need an advantage. One BIG boost is Adderall.
In the past few years, Adderall has been adopted as a cognitive enhancement: a drug that high-functioning, overcommitted people take to become higher-functioning and more overcommitted people. It is no longer restricted to the socially awkward A.D.H.D. kid from elementary school that seemed to possess a mild degree of Tourette syndrome. Statistics show that nearly 25 percent of university students use a drug similar to Adderall, and rampant Adderall usage goes well beyond the Diag and can found throughout the country from Wall Street all the way to Main Street.
Adderall is reported to help focus energy and concentration to a higher level than is normal. It enables the user to focus and stay awake. Stories of students writing papers continuously for an unusually long time, or cramming all night for an exam with no loss of energy or concentration are common.
Those that use such brain enhancers like Adderall are more alert, their synapse is quicker and they experience far less fatigue. In addition, statistics show that they suffer less from depression and are far more sociable. Frankly, I would say Adderall could be considered as a form of cheating, but as long as the University or other institutions don’t see it that way, we might as well take advantage while we can.
I want to be honest: Those ingesting Adderall have a leg up on everyone not doing so, no question about it. Get over it people, Adderall is here to stay and everyone should seek out their local doctor and obtain a prescription. Here is how to do it: Tell your doctor you are having difficulties concentrating on your homework (who doesn’t?), that you find yourself unusually lazy obviously) though not depressed, or you will be prescribed Prozac. Then nicely ask, can I have an Adderall prescription? They will give it to you.
I’m not A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. My first experience with adderall was as a naïve freshman trying to weather an all-nighter. That allnighter produced a D+. Rather than working on my paper, the night was spent surfing the web from window to window, without any aim or purpose. I was multitasking to the extreme and doing none of them well. I will admit that I thought, “So this is what it’s like to be on speed or cocaine,” but I was wrong. I just didn’t know how to harness the power of Adderall.
Let’s be realistic: Adderall and other brain enhancing drugs are just one of the amazing technological advances of our day.
A student without access to neuro-enhancing drugs is comparable to the student without a computer.
While the school’s computers will suffice, having one’s own is far superior. The drug has made me smarter, sharper and wittier, in addition to drastic changes in my grades. I no longer wake up tired or sleep through class; I’m energized to take on the day’s tasks.
Many great men have been strong proponents of brain enhancing drugs, but our government has made many of them illegal. Freud prescribed cocaine to his patients, and he saw results! Until they started to die. But think of Adderall as a safer incarnation of something that is useful to humankind.
Granted, it is too early to tell the long-term effects of taking such a powerful prescription drug, but the side effects are quite moderate. Also, keep in mind; life is not about how long you can live but how much you can accomplish in your lifetime. No one can deny that we become more productive and efficient members of society when on Adderall. If you disagree with that, grab your tent and head to the wilderness – there you can find peace, though you could totally chop more wood, collect more berries and prepare for the winter if you had a little chemical pep in your step.
An Artificial Crutch
by: Danielle Foley
It’s easy to justify non-prescription Adderall use in the face of increasing demands of the modern world; however, there is a downside to everything.
Even if Adderall is effective and allows a student to “do it all” and have a million obligations – class, clubs, parties, homework, TV, internet surfing, talking, relaxing, eating, sleeping ( oh, wait…maybe not this last one) it is still unfair to the general populace.
Even if there are no harmful side effects to the user’s body and even if that user doesn’t feel dishonest to himself, the consequences of that user’s superior academic performance is unfair for those non-using students who either choose naturalness, who can’t afford it, or who choose not to deceive their health-care providers or purchase the drug illegally.
Simply put: even if Adderall were a perfect drug that did nothing but help the student who used it, it would not be ethical to allow its unrestricted use. Not every student has access nor wants to use Adderall for moral reasons. Worse yet, non-using students might find themselves in an unhealthy bind. They may begrudgingly consider loosening their values to compete with students who do take Adderall. Studying in school would become a function not of hard work, disciplined focus, and sometimes prioritizing responsibilities over socialization on the weekend; rather, studying would translate to Adderall-access and students’ willingness to compromise their sense of worth to remain competitive.
There is always the justification that it “just helps me learn,” but the idea becomes even more appalling when one takes into consideration grading curves in many college courses across the nation. From this viewpoint, it is easy to see how the academic landscape is mirroring the sports world’s ethical issues with steroid usage.
In sports, however, it is completely unacceptable to take steroids, and testing is mandated. This is the same system that should be put in place for non-prescription usage of Adderall before exams in college.
Additionally, Adderall tends to have negative physical and mental effects on the body, and it can be addictive. Addiction blows. Taking the drug—any drug or quick fix, instant pleasure, etc.—can open the door to more harmful activities. You steal a candy bar and realize that it’s not too hard to get away with, and you have not really hurt anyone too significantly. So you steal a notebook, then a t-shirt, then a CD, then a $100 dollar coat, then you do it habitually and actively, freely, unthinkingly, because you have become so comfortable. Here is where addiction comes in. What you think is good often becomes bad for you because you abuse it. In this case, stealing rules your life and puts you at risk (of arrest) especially as you become more ambitious. Using Adderall has a similar effect.
Unexpected physical problems may also arise. You can become jittery, unstable, lose your appetite, and unable to sleep. Overdose can be fatal.
Someone might ask: what about using it just once? It stands to reason that like any other addictive substance, the first time is rarely the only time.
If you use it many times, addictions strip you of your free will. You become compelled by it. Even if it’s not wildly mind-possessing—if it doesn’t affect your life in every way, every minute—it’s still like a cigarette smoker or a coffee drinker: you feel you need it to function effectively. You have to structure your day so you can have a smoke or coffee. You become owned by something that started relatively harmlessly. Your mind is not free to think what it wants because it is preoccupied with yearning for nicotine or caffeine.
Artificial aids are merely crutches. There are natural solutions which can be your choice and can be not only as (or more) effective for focus and performance, but can become healthy additions to your lifestyle.
edited by: Eric Eaton