The ability to stay on task, even the dullest, most numbing task, was Adderall’s first gift to me. It was also its first curse, because it encouraged me to take on work of an increasingly stupefying nature and do it well enough that I got more of it, until I was doing almost no other kind. I can see, though, how harried students might covet this power and why, according to some estimates, a quarter of undergraduates at certain colleges are availing themselves of such stimulants. They’re well aware of the dire economic news — big law firms instituting hiring freezes; whole industries, like publishing, imploding — and it’s natural that they would welcome any advantage in their quests to get the grades that will get them the jobs that will get them the insurance that will get them the medications to do the jobs.
I reached a point with Adderall that reminded me of a warning the United States Marine Corps is said to give its enemies: You can run, but you’ll only die tired...Or graduate tired, in the case of college students. And what’s so wrong with that? The course of a formal education is short but its consequences vast, so why not give it your spirit-crushing all, especially during a fiercely competitive age? “Simply because,” the parent in me says. He’s been there, this man. He’s weary, he’s spent and he just knows.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Walter Kirn on performance enhancing drugs
Check out his account of his own experience.