A.D.D. and People Who Don't Have It
by Anthony Stasi
Jan 13, 2012 | 2237 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A friend who coaches women’s basketball at a tony Washington, D.C., high school was explaining to me how the girls on his team are obsessed with their college applications.

Even as sophomores, they measure every club they join, every grade they receive. They consider which basketball position is more attractive for scholarship money. They try to learn musical instruments in order to seem more cultured and more interesting to an admissions board. And a lot of those students turn to drugs to stay focused.

Finishing a doctoral program, I am around a great deal of graduate students. Graduate degrees do not foster the high pressure environment that law and medical schools do, but there seems to be a lot of students who rely on drugs that doctors may not be actually prescribing.

Attention deficit disorder (ADD), for example, is something doctors treat with medication. But there are a lot of students taking the drugs for ADD, such as Adderall, for the sole purposes of writing papers without being distracted. These students care enough to do this in order to write a good paper or finish a project, but it is still wrong and not really legal in some cases.

Maybe it is my age that separates me from understanding this. I wish I knew all the angles when I was applying to college. I wish I knew that I needed a more diverse application. I wish I could play an instrument. I wish I paid more attention to my standardized test scores. There is, however, the potential for these students to overstep and lose sight of what is real.

A friend who graduated from a prestigious Ivy League graduate program told me that the number of Ivy League law students who take anti-depressants is around 50 percent. That may not be completely accurate, but it is very possible that the numbers are high.

We want our kids to be high-level achievers in top schools, but this could grow to become a bigger problem, especially now that pharmaceutical companies are reporting shortages of drugs that are needed for people who actually need them.

An Idea For NYC Cabs

Now that New York City cabs are taking credit cards, it is time for the city to fully embrace the idea of a taxi cab gift card. Some cities are already experimenting with it.

This is a good idea for a number of reasons. Urban dwellers are slow to invite out-of-towners into the city because it means putting friends and loved ones on subways at all hours. Give them a $10 gift card, however, and they can get to Penn Station from just about anywhere in Manhattan (a little more for outside of Gotham).

The idea works for drivers as well. While drivers do not like any non-cash payment, riders may be more inclined to tip higher (and in cash) if using a gift card. The city would also make money by selling the cards, which we all know – like Metrocards - are rarely balanced out.

If the taxi cab gift card is not possible, we could find a way to incorporate the Metrocard with cabs, but that would mean changing the card device in cabs, which sounds pricey.

A card idea like this makes sense for all parties (drivers, riders, and the city). It encourages people to use public transportation. It allows for those of us who are squeamish about using our credit cards to use something other than cash. It is also a way to make the visit to our city easier for our friends, who are often in shell shock when they see our massive public transportation system up close.
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