Pipe Dream spoke with Sara McCann, a sophomore majoring in nursing, and Humza Khan, a junior majoring in mathematics. Through their talk, “Debunking the Study Drug Myth,” McCann and Khan aim to dispel the misconception of Adderall use on college campuses. This interview had been edited for length and clarity.
Pipe Dream: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Sara McCann: “I am a sophomore nursing student here at [Binghamton University], from Albany, New York.”
Humza Khan: “I’m a 20-year-old junior [majoring in mathematics] from Lynbrook, New York, planning on going to medical school soon, [and I am] currently studying for the MCAT. I am naturally a very curious and open-minded person. However, once I find something that piques my interest, I tend to follow it through and get to the very bottom of it!”
PD: What inspired your talk?
SM: “[Khan] and I are both part of BSMART — the Binghamton Student Managed Adderall Research Team. Our team as a whole is passionate about spreading our research, which has disproved common misconceptions about Adderall because it is something that impacts many college students. Humza heard about TEDxBinghamtonUniversity and suggested that we submit an application.”
HK: “Once [McCann] and I took a close look at our team’s research, we realized just how much potential there was to spread a very important and powerful message to everyone, not just Adderall abusers, that is rooted in hard, scientific evidence.”
PD: Why did you decide to get involved with TEDxBinghamtonUniversity?
HK: “I decided to get involved with TEDx because I felt that it would be the ultimate platform to spread a message on. Additionally, doing a TEDx talk would allow me to exercise my natural love for public speaking while talking about something I really truly believe in. Over the past few weeks, and even months, this talk was always on my mind because of how excited I was!”
PD: What do you hope the audience takes away from your talk?
SM: “I hope that students not only learn the truth about the long-term effects that Adderall has on the brain but become more aware of their own approaches to challenges. I hope that this talk makes students reconsider their outlook on stressors, problems and so forth, such that healthier coping mechanisms are developed to promote a change in mindset.”
HK: “I hope that anyone and everyone who watches the talk, not just ‘study-drug users,’ appreciates the fact that the issue of learned helplessness is one that is at the very core of many of our problems in life. I hope that the crux of the talk, that maintaining an internal locus of control can enhance your ability to cope and persevere in any situation, resonates with the viewers as much as it did with [McCann] and I.”
Editor’s note: Sara McCann contributes to Pipe Dream’s News section.