Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills

There is a scene in the recent film “Limitless” where Bradley Cooper takes a pill for the first time, resulting in an exponential increase in focus, memory and mental drive. The colors surrounding him become more vivid, and the small details of his apartment come to life.

Peeling wallpapers, small golden accents on hardwood banisters, splintered staircases – all of these things stick out like sore thumbs when he’s on this drug. Within 30 minutes of taking the pill, he has cleaned his entire apartment, washed all of his dishes, organized his bookshelf and rearranged all the furniture in his apartment. He also writes a flawless legal brief in 45 minutes.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you realized something about the plot of this movie shortly after this opening scene: Bradley Cooper had just taken a pretty high dosage of Adderall for the first time.

Coming from someone who has taken some form of study drugs for the majority of my life – be it Adderall, Vyvanse or Concerta – the symptoms were all easily recognizable: the desire to be productive as opposed to sitting around and doing nothing, the interest in typically dull subjects and the motivation to viciously clean and organize an entire room.

All of that is clearly the result of Adderall, so forgive me if I didn’t find the concept of the movie’s fictional miracle drug that spellbinding.

But ultimately, how could you blame me? I’m not the only one doing it. A recent University of Kentucky study showed that 50 percent of college students had used some sort of study drug by the time they graduated. That number jumped to 80 percent when considering only members of sororities and fraternities.

Let’s face it: We’ve become an ADHD population.

We like our entertainment to be meaningless and our news in sound bites. Perfect example: Remember the topic of the final presidential debate? Probably not. Now, remember “binders full of women?” Most probably.

You can’t really blame college students for “abusing” study drugs. Another study by the National Survey of Student Engagement showed that engineering majors have to spend an average of 20 hours a week studying. A UCLA study shows that college students face more work and stress than ever before.

And with prescription study drugs being handed out like PEZ candies on campus, why wouldn’t students take advantage of them?

I say “take advantage,” and not “abuse,” because the worst thing that anyone has ever done on Adderall is clean a dorm room and look up far too many song lyrics.

It’s hard to abuse a drug whose main side effects are productivity and finding linear algebra interesting. I can’t list the number of all-nighters I’ve pulled with the help of Concerta in order to cram a semester’s worth of writing into one night.

Medicate, Miami. You’ve earned it. I know you’ve got that killer orgo final coming up. You know, the one that you need to ace or else you’ll never get into medical school.

And if you don’t get into medical school then you won’t get a job, and without a job no one knows if you’ll ever have another date in your life, let alone find a spouse and … uh … wait. I lost my train of thought.

What was I talking about again?


Robert Pursell is a senior majoring in journalism. 

November 11, 2012


Robert Pursell

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