Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All this Talk About Adderall Makes Me Crave Caffeine: Espresso Brownies

I love my job. I really do. I get paid to teach, ask questions, answer them, write, and argue with people. This week, I'm writing and answering questions more than usual: it's quals week! I'm 3 down (effects, fem theory, and methods) and 1 (critical/cultural approaches to mass comm) to go. All the stress has pretty much gone away - if I don't know it by now, I'm kind of out of luck- and I feel good about my answers. They're not perfect. Hell, they may not even be exactly right. I'll find out on April 11. But, I'm doing my quals! It's cool.

However, I. Am. So. Freaking. Tired.

As I sit here with my iced latte, trying to stay awake until advertising, and as if I haven't written enough already this week, I feel the need to blog. It's a nice distraction from doing what I need to do - finishing up a conference paper and making a quiz. I'm reflecting on another part of my job - listening to other people make arguments. I just heard a research presentation by one of our Associate Professors (who's unfortunately an Alabama fan... but I won't hold it against him since he's also into critical studies) about the uses and abuses of Adderall on college campuses. His research shocked me; I knew people were using it, but seriously? That much? And there's really no side effects? No dependency? Besides the moral (you're stealing someone else's prescription?) and ethical (it's an FDA level II controlled substance) and general good sense (it's like CRACK) issues to consider, I have to say, right now, some adderall might do me some good. Especially as I think about how antsy I get sitting in a small room for 4 hours at a time writing. I got up to walk around 4 times today during my question. I could not sit still. I think had my parents had better sense raising me, they would have (should have?) put me on some ritalin. But, I hate drugs. I can't take anything stronger than a Tylenol without feeling exceptionally strange. My mom and I still laugh about the last time I was given anesthesia (wisdom teeth removal), because I woke up, crying hysterically, shaking, worried about my dog, Chi-Chi.

Anyway. Back to my point (yes, I have one). I don't think it's so much a problem that kids are taking adderall - kids in my classes, mind you - the problem is with the greater cultural expectations that our kids are learning. That good ol' American value of hard work paying off? "Kids today" are getting a horribly distorted version of what that means, and the consequences of wanting and having it all. My problem with adderall is not its abuse; my problem is that we are socially constructing (co-constructing?) that it is acceptable for people to do drugs in order to "get it all done." When life happens, unexpectedly, as it does, tell me that you didn't have time to do your homework. I'll count of 10% and let you turn it in tomorrow. Don't take an adderall and come to my class sleep deprived and wired. Maybe something else is going on in your life that makes it so you can't write that paper due next week. Talk to me about it! Family problems? I can certainly relate. Let's talk about ways to manage your family along with your own budding life and desire for independence. What happens when you get in the workplace and you have a boss demanding an extra 20 hours a week of your time; are you going to pop an adderall so you can work and spend time with your kids when you get home? Not a good strategy! It catches up with you. Regardless of the absence of side effects, why aren't we enculturating people to live their lives? Dare I say it - be imperfect? Experience raw emotions? Live through the pain and the stress?

Problems for another day. Let's bake something with my favorite stimulant - caffeine. Giada's Espresso Brownies. They are my favorite brownies. The frosting is sooooo goooood. I would make my usual suggestions and alterations, but like most everything Giada does, it's perfect, just as she writes it.

Now. Back to work. Adderall free!

1 comment:

Christy said...

Gracious and eloquent post. Good luck on quals! I am sure you will do fabulously! :)