Students resorting to drug use to maintain grades

The Beacon, Editorial Staff

Today many jobs require at least an associates or bachelors degree.  Even if a job doesn’t, there are often people who are overqualified that are applying for the position, and a person without one of these degrees can find himself at a disadvantage.  Higher level education not only increases a person’s annual salary, but also decreases his chances of being unemployed.

With the job market becoming more competitive, a greater number of students are continuing on to college than ever before; either through personal motivation or parental influence.  According to 68.6% of High School graduates went on to become freshman at college or attend technical schools in 2008.  The ever increasing flow of students into colleges is making college acceptance and unfortunately even the assignment of grades more competitive than ever.

This puts undue amounts of academic pressure on students because due to the increased number of students attending college admission is more selective, scholarships and grading are more competitive and important classes fill up more quickly than ever before.  In addition, students are also confronted with economic, parental, peer and self-pressure. Each of these pressures has specific problems and considerations which increase the overall pressure load on an individual.

In many situations, problems with one type of pressure may compound or aggravate the pressures of another.  Coming home and learning that a credit card is maxed out after failing a test can really ruin a person’s day and have severe negative complications such as demotivation, depression, appetite changes and sleep pattern changes, all of which are symptoms of high levels of stress.  Stress and it’s symptoms can have drastic effects on a persons efficiency and the process of dealing with stressors itself consumes quite a bit of time.

Adderall and Ritalin, drugs primarily prescribed for symptoms of ADHD, are two of the drugs most commonly abused in this manner.  According to a “60 Minutes” report 50-60% of college all juniors and seniors and more than 80% of those that are in fraternities or sororities use the drugs to prevent themselves from being overwhelmed by the inordinate amount of work they are expected to accomplish.  Why are students laden with so much work?

The source of this work is quite obviously the professors themselves, though it is not with malicious intent or due to a lack of humanity that so much work is assigned.  As far as most professors are concerned they are assigning a perfectly normal workload.  Reading 20 pages a night is not a difficult task.  However, many professors fail to consider the amount of work assigned by other professors and how quickly it adds up.

The Beacon believes that professors should be more aware of these issues and make attempts to decrease the overall amount of work assigned to be completed outside of class, or allow students who are forced to contend with multiple large projects at the same time the option of an extension.  Many professors already extend this courtesy, but few mention this as they fear it will it will cause and increase in students who hand in late projects.  It is entirely understandable that there are many assignments which cannot possibly be completed in the classroom and many classes require that the student practice methods or read certain literature, but work assigned for the purpose of assigning work is superfluous, and where possible, should be eliminated.