Study pills boost focus, but not intelligence

As a student attending a top 50 university, I have never taken the easy road.

I was accepted to UM, and I excel because of my hard work and dedication to my studies and extracurriculars. But when I have three exams and a paper due in the same week, it is easy to want to take advantage of something that will help me focus or cope with stress.

However, barring stealing the answer sheet, there’s not much students can get away with nowadays.

Contrary to the infamous pill’s nickname, Adderall is not magic, nor is it limitless. It does not suddenly give you a list of multiple choice answers and it does not endow you with knowledge. It is ignorant to think it does.

In an article on the Huffington Post, Professor J.J. Colagrande of Barry University condemned The Miami Hurricane’s recent Adderall coverage. He wrote that taking Adderall “should basically be considered cheating.”

The kid sitting next me during my organic chemistry exam is taking the same exact test as I am with no previous knowledge of it. Whether they have taken a pill or not is moot because they’re in the class and taking the exam, filling in the bubbles just as I am.

As a pre-med student, I am constantly told that all that is special about me is the GPA stamped on my forehead. Because of this, I have considered taking Adderall.

I will never condone taking a substance that is not prescribed. But one must wonder, if a student is willing to take a drug without knowing how it will even affect them, why would he or she take the risk?

Students are not taking Adderall to get high. They’re taking it to help them pass a hard class, finish a 20-page research paper or get an A on the final exam that could make or break their future.

This magic pill might be magic for those who have ADD or ADHD. And for those who don’t, it’s magic in a different sense. Studies show that college students use it. Students wouldn’t use it if it wasn’t effective.

The next time you hear of someone taking Adderall, ask yourself why they’re risking jail time, the dissolution of their future and serious side effects for just one grade.

That doesn’t sound like the easy way out to me.


Demi Rafuls is a senior majoring in microbiology. 

November 18, 2012


Demi Rafuls


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Study pills boost focus, but not intelligence”

  1. SM says:

    This seems like a pretty major generalization. As a former UM student who struggled with a myriad of mental illnesses, Adderall is one of the medications I take that makes it possible for me to get through my day. It doesn’t make me superhuman, nor did it get me A’s (my GPA finished just below a 3.0). Yes, a lot of students use it to help them study and cram before exams, but as they are not prescribed and do not take it the way it is meant to be taken, they actually suffer a lot of the negative side effects, often right before their exam.

    The primary cause of grade inflation at UM is cheating and academic dishonesty. I witnessed it extensively as a student, and as a Teaching Assistant caught many in the act who faced disciplinary action. Don’t demonize a medication that many of us who truly suffer from ADHD and other learning disabilities depend on to function.

  2. A.S. says:

    “Students are not taking Adderall to get high. They’re taking it to help them pass a hard class, finish a 20-page research paper or get an A on the final exam that could make or break their future.”

    Yes, and by doing so, they are cheapening the grades of those who get the same grades solely through hard work. If they can’t get an A without Adderall, they don’t deserve an A. They are artificially inflating their own grades and degrading mine.

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.