This blog is no longer devoted exclusively to discussion of class bias in higher education although it is pervasive. But then, again, it is pervasive everywhere in the US. I've run out of gas on that. Not only that, I've lost some of my rile about my own law school. So I'm just winging it.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Adderall for All: Students and Professors Alike
A year or so ago a colleague, far, far closer to retirement than to taking a law school exam, told me he went to his doctor to get an Adderall prescription. The result was just what was hoped for. He could focus longer and write more articles. As I understand it, Adderall is available to all will shop around for the right doctors. I would like to write more articles too so I wondered if I should get some Aderall myself. And, since we all want to do "our" best, should we all feel obligated to take Adderall or its therapeutic equivalents so we can be more productive. In fact, maybe employers should require it.
All of this is less important for professors since the measures of success are so elusive. On the other hand, if Adderall is an undergraduate epidemic why would it not also be widespread among law students where grading curves and class rank can made the difference between a job or no job. If it is widespread or likely to become widespread, what of it? One article I read suggested it was a great opportunity for lower socioeconomic kids because their families can substitute Adderall for more expensive prep courses, tutors, etc., to which wealthier students have access. I wonder about the logic of this. In a competitive world won't the rich kids use all their expensive aids plus Adderall. Of course, maybe I just misunderstand how Adderall works.
Another article I read indicated that the abuse of Aderall is more common among middle and higher socioeconomic students. I am not sure what "abuse" means but it does include illegally obtaining Adderall. This surprised me because the richer the kid the more able he or she is to doctor shop. In either case, when it comes to aids -- legal or illegal -- is there really any serious doubt about which class will have greater access and be able to squeeze out the greatest benefit.
Where do law school administrators and bar examiners fall into this. Nowhere is what I expect because a general rule for adminstrators seems to be to do nothing unless forced to. This may be the right outcome. It does not seem practical to test the test takers. Plus, what would the sanction be? Still, it's just another way to game the system and it seems inconsistent for state bars and some law schools to obsess about "background" but then turn a blind eye to dopers.
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Using Adderall without a prescription should constitute an honor code violation. Although a bit draconian, students should be required to turn in a urine sample prior to receiving an exam. I would participate with such a rule, but lets face it, the rule will be considered too cumbersome and too intrusive to provide it justification. At a minimum, students should write an addendum on every exam and writing assignment in which they certify that they have received no help, ect., and have not taken performance enhancing drugs (Adderall) without a prescription. - There is nothing we can do about those that actually have prescriptions. But, if you need a drug in order to pass law school...
Those that actually have used adderall can attest that you are just as likely to waste 12 hours looking at porn, then study. Its more than just simply taking the pill. You have to do the work. And there are equivalents on the market that give you just as much of a "focus" boost.
Of course this raises the question about what a law school assesses. In an outdated system based upon timed memory tests that are graded in a way that spurs forced competition, i.e. the curve, adderal is a plus. However, if the assessment were more geared towards the factors that are actually relevant in practice such as research and being efficient and responsive to your clients I doubt it would be as much of a factor.
Given by soldiers in WWII, history dictates soldiers get doped up to cope with stress and keep going.
Please research the chemical compounds of this drug before you ruin your brain.
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