thebattalion ● wedne wednesday, d
november 30, 2011
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Academic overdose Students turn to stimulants when studying for exams Madeline Burns The Battalion acing pressure to succeed, many students do just about anything to get a competitive edge academically. For some, this means hours at the library. Others frequent tutoring services. Still more turn to large amounts of caffeine and nightlong study sessions. Some students, however, take their drive to maintain a high GPA to a new level, turning to pharmaceutical stimulant medications, such as Adderall and Vyvanse, without prescriptions. Adderall and Vyvanse are amphetamines — psychostimulants that increase mental acuity and allow individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, to concentrate. Students without a medical condition use the drugs to study more effectively and for longer periods of time. “It doesn’t make you any smarter than you already are, it just helps you focus,” said one student source who uses Adderall without a prescription, speaking under condition of anonymity. He added that acquiring Adderall for study binges is not difficult. It’s as simple as knowing where to look. “It’s just a matter of asking somebody,” he said. “I’m sure that everyone knows somebody who knows somebody that gets it all the time.” Another student, who also spoke under condition of anonymity, has medical need for Adderall but gives excess medication to friends as tests approach. He does not sell the drugs,
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and defended the practice as an act of looking out for friends. “The reason I am OK with distributing is because college is hard,” the source said. “My friends, we take care of each other. We are each other’s families. So I don’t feel guilty. I don’t feel like I am doing something wrong.” The source said he and his friends are able to use the drug when they need it for an explicit purpose, which is only on rare occasions. “My friends aren’t constantly asking for it,” he said. “They’re not abusing the drug and nor am I, so that’s how I rationalize it.” The first source did not consider taking Adderall without a medical condition to be cheating. But the student who distributes the drug recognized an ethical ambivalence in the issue, and was worried about the consequences if caught. “I’m sure that A&M could consider [distributing] to be academic dishonesty,” the source said. “But I don’t understand how A&M could reprimand a person for helping another. Especially with the Aggie network … How often do we use our connections as Aggies to get ahead with jobs?” The Aggie Honor System Office, which responds to cases of academic integrity at A&M, defines cheating as “intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information, notes, study aids or other devices or materials in any academic exercise.” Tim Powers, director for the Aggie Honor System Office, said it was not clear whether this definition included stimulant drug use. He added that there is not precedent for this Roger Zhang and Josh McKenna — THE BATTALION
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Olympians dare Aggies to dream big
Christmas is the season for giving, caring and being jolly. That is, unless it’s Black Friday and someone stands between you and a good deal. Joe Terrell, lifestyles editor for The Battalion, takes a look at the true spirit of Christmas inside.
construction Joe Routt, Stallings close Two campus roads closed Monday and will no longer be open to pedestrians or cars this semester. Joe Routt, which runs between the Memorial Student Center and the Zone PLaza, will reopen April 21. Stallings Boulevard, the road on the West side of the MSC, is expected to reopen Jan. 17. The sidewalk is also closed in front of Cain Hall. To travel around the construction, students need to take the sidewalk through Cain Park. According to Peter Lange, A&M executive director of transportation, Joe Routt will reopen with bike lanes on both sides of the road and a gate at the west end with limited motor vehicle access, open to the public between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Robby Smith, staff writer
Stephanie Leichtle — THE BATTALION
Olympian Nastia Liukin speaks with students during Deloitte’s U.S. Olympic Committee Road Show. The program included a meet and greet with the athletes and motivational messages.
The Battalion Students sat in silence, star-struck by speakers at the Deloitte “Take the Lead” seminar. Three U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes gave insight into their personal lives to inspire students to achieve their goals. Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin, 2010 Worlds all-around bronze medalist Jonathan Horton and two-time Paralympic champion Marlon Shirley each contributed during the evening. Texas A&M is one of 17 colleges on the “Take the Lead” tour. The purpose of the tour is to allow students a unique networking experience that will give them tools to achieve their goals. Each athlete had a different story, and shared a unique key to success. Liukin stressed the importance of finding a passion and pursuing it. “I guess my goal … is to inspire at least one person,” Liukin said. “And to
teach at least one person and let them know that it is OK to dream big and go after those dreams.” For Liukin, pursuing her passion of gymnastics means seven-hour practices and missing out on the life of a normal 22-year-old. “I’ve never been to a college football game, actually,” Liukin said. After the 2012 Olympics, Liukin does not expect to continue competing in gymnastics. She looks forward to attending NYU and pursuing a career outside athletic competition. She said Olympic athletes are not exempt from the dreaded question: “What are you going to do with your life?” Liukin said she relates to students who feel they have not yet discovered their passion. “I’m kind of in the same spot as they are. After 2012, I probably won’t be competing anymore, so it’s finding See Olympics on page 7
Senate to discuss student fees, nondiscrimination Robby Smith The Battalion Texas A&M’s Student Government Association will consider proposals for two pieces of legislation Wednesday evening. One bill seeks a compromise to address a divide between the Student Senate and Student Body President Jeff Pickering on student fees. The other bill presents a nondiscrimination policy for the A&M System. Amanda Hatheway, speaker pro tempore of the Student Senate, said she is uncertain about the support the nondiscrimination bill will re-
ceive because this will be the first time it has been presented before the assembled body. “[The bill] is sponsored by 10 of the approximately 70 student senators within the Senate,” Hatheway said. “A few senators have announced that they are unsure if this bill is necessary or needed by the System.” The bill’s content requests that the System change its current nondiscrimination policy to include protections for discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, said bill author Andrew Jancaric, student senator representing the
Dwight Look College of Engineering. “A&M is ranked the least friendly to GLBT’s by the Princeton Review among college campuses,” said Jancaric, who is also vice president of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Aggies student organization. “I want to make A&M a more welcoming place. [The bill] is designed to make the System take a bold stance in person that we support the nondiscrimination of people based on their sexual orientation.” Though the Board of Regents will decide
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