Do you remember the days before you started college? Can you recall the smiles you had when you read through your admission letter? How happy you must have felt. I bet your joy could not be contained. You quickly began to make plans on how your school life will go. The kind of friends you will keep, the lifestyle you will live in school, the freedom you will get when you finally leave home and live on your own. I am sure you stayed awake all night planning your life in school. Next came the pieces of advice. Your parents, uncles, aunties, friends, and neighbors all came to wish you success, and give you tips on how to survive and make the best use of your experience. At first, you listened attentively to what each person had to say, but as time went on, it began to sound redundant and you could not help but wish that you leave for school. School resumed and you went off to school. Currently, you are a student in that College and as time progresses, your reality dawns on you. You have 5 projects to submit, you have to read that topic or chapter and give a summary the next day in class. Your grades are grasping for straws and no matter how hard you try, you can not seem to figure out where it all got wrong. These things, coupled with your family depending on you to uphold the family legacy, keep you awake at night and you wonder if you were cut out to be a student in the first place. If you are wondering this, chances are that you are not alone.
Life as a student is not as rosy as it sounds. It comes with so many responsibilities: As a growing person, you are expected to balance your academic with your social life, personal with your spiritual life. “We are counting on you”, they say. But if only they knew the weight those words carry, they would not make such statements.
The life of the student
A person studying a particular course is called a student. And for years now, student life has always been associated with an innate need to live up to an expectation.
From the first time the student steps into an educational institution, he is reminded that his worth is based on how good he is, his grades, his teachers’ opinions, and how his peers view him. In every conversation with his family, he is constantly reminded that he has to make his family proud and unfortunately, when he does make them proud, the celebration is always proceeded by the talk that he can even do even better and achieve even more. To others, this may sound like an encouragement to do better, but to the student, this is a reminder that he is insufficient and that no matter what he does, he still needs to do more.
The system does not make it any easier for the student. At the beginning of the semester, he is given a lecture schedule he is meant to adhere strictly to, a course outline he is meant to finish before the semester ends and a list of textbooks to read.
The results of this reality
Isaac Newton theorized that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Although Newton was not a psychologist, his formulation holds for human response to events. Students who have been subjected to this situation develop a response, an adaptative mechanism to survive. Failure is not an option.
A poll of 787 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 conducted in 2006 found that 44% of teens say they feel strong pressure to succeed. Surprisingly, the pressure is felt more often by girls than boys. Eight in ten students feel that success is important, no matter what the cost, and that it does not improve once someone gets out of school and into the workforce.
Cheating an easier route to success
Man is a complex yet delicate entity. Every student has a breaking point, a limit. Once this limit is exceeded, it can drive him or her to seek easier alternatives. Cheating becomes this better alternative. Cheating comes in two forms: cheating during exams and hiring professionals that would solve assignments, write essays and finish projects. For both professional and student, the relationship becomes a means to an end. The student wants to survive the harshness that comes with his reality and the professional seeks to also survive life. Sadly, modern society encourages this relationship and continues to make it easy for the relationship to flourish. Sites like https://www.customwritings.com/ offer the services of numerous writers, each hoping that the student seeks this alternative to doing the essays himself. The immediate effect yields a positive outcome, but what about the long-lasting effect? What happens when the student becomes solely dependent on these sites? What happens when the student passes through college thinking that he is insufficient and incompetent to get a good grade without the aid of a professional?
Drugs a solution for the pressured students
Some students do not succumb to the pressure to hire the services of professional writers. This may occur because of a lack of awareness about the existence of such sites, lack of money to pay the professionals or the ‘I will do it myself’ mentality. This mentality is no doubt good and should be encouraged to flourish, but is it encouraged in reality? Does the curriculum support this mentality? When the student has to study ahead, revise what has been done, and still retain all this information, he begins to seek means to find more.
Two variables he wishes he could change include: time and mental prowess. Unfortunately, time cannot be increased nor does the increase in mental prowess come easy, so to go around these obstacles, he or she takes drugs that keep him awake at night so that he can increase the time he uses to study and consumes drugs that improve alertness and memory.
Ironically, the use of these drugs is more prevalent in schools. According to the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, drug usage is common among third and fourth-year pharmacology students. Concerta, caffeine pills, modafinil, and Focalin are just a few of the numerous drugs taken by students to stay awake at night. These drugs stimulate the nervous system to increase alertness and sharpen focus. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin boost the memory capacity of the student and so become an alternative when it seems that the system wants more from him or her.
The effect of student pressure
When a student hires a professional, he has accepted that he cannot make a good grade without that professional. When a student takes a drug to study for a test, he has admitted that his efforts alone are not enough. When a student cheats on an exam, he has accepted his incompetence and insufficiency.
Apart from the mental strain associated with overdependence on shortcuts and cheating, drug additions also arise when students become dependent on the drugs to do well in school. Sleep disorders such as insomnia, daytime sleepiness, parasomnia, and sleep apnea are also consequences of taking this shortcut.
Student life is a complicated endeavor. Words said to encourage could do the opposite. Pieces of advice given to help could destroy. This is the fate of the student, this is his reality.