Academic pressure drives students to pills

It’s a Monday morning. You’re killing time in class, trying not to fall asleep because you got only two hours of rest after you stayed up all night finishing a research paper and graphic design project. Dozing in and out of your professor’s lecture, you catch the words “exam” and “next class.”

To solve the issue of cramped schedules and workloads that would make a grown man succumb to tears, it has become more of a culture than a trend for college students to turn to drugs like Adderall and Vyvanse.

The current educational system focuses on grade point averages, rubrics and syllabi. But what if what has always seemed logical isn’t so logical after all?

This emphasis on good grades and strictly regimented workloads is exactly what leads college students to turn to drugs as a means to an end. Following curriculum, the blind habit that it has become, teaches students that as long as you get the passing grade, you deserve a college acceptance, later a college degree and eventually a paid job as a professional.

It is important to understand why the usage of these “study drugs” is so common in college. To us, the students, the pressures seem endless. Whether it is acing an impossible organic chemistry exam or getting outstanding grades to maintain a scholarship, day in and day out the stress continues to build.

What professors and curriculum setters do not realize is that they are semi-accountable for the frequent use of these drugs, although they do not physically force students to consume them.

When two tests determine your mark in a course, where is the incentive to actually learn? The ugly truth is that most students don’t care about what a professor is saying as long as they study hard for the exam, earn a decent grade, and pass the course.

There are many students who are more than willing to pay a couple of dollars to get a good grade and make their parents proud without thinking about the potential health risks, which include memory problems and harsh mood swings.

The rigid course loads created by professors not only determine a student’s final grade, but their personal sanity and well-being as well.

However, many students do deem these drugs necessary to keep up with their heavy workloads.

The only feasible solution to combat dependency on study drugs is a change, not in the obstacles required to get prescriptions for these drugs, but in curriculum.

Jamie Servidio is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

December 11, 2013


Jamie Servidio

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