It’s not that I’ve ever noticed cheating going on in my classes, as much as I’ve heard the stories. Of sororities filing old tests, of fraternities handing each other answers, of desperate pre-meds stealthily copying off someone else’s test.
Though through my years as a boring goody-two-shoes high school student I’d taken a staunch moral stance against cheating, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was putting myself at a disadvantage by navigating the honest route in college.
I had to consider: if everyone else is taking shortcuts to an A and I’m not, am I really running the same race as others in my class? Wouldn’t it only be fair for me to level the playing field and cheat as well?
Of course, I’m not the only one who’s had these thoughts cross my mind. Honest students throughout the world become jaded by the dishonest antics that are subtly rampant in so many universities.
I am of the opinion, that, contrary to popular belief, this widespread cheating is not begotten by my generation’s infinite laziness. Rather, I think that it is the product of quite the opposite. In today’s high-pressure world, we’re all trying to be the best, to have the highest scores, to climb to the top. Our parents did well, but we want to do better—a desire that is not so easily achieved for a generation whose parents fit comfortably into the middle class, in a country overpopulated with post-secondary degrees.
For a lot of cheaters, cheating is the only way they feel that they can reach such lofty expectations; it’s the easiest way to reach the top. Unlike the cheaters we knew in high school, college level cheaters are cheating for an A, not cheating to pass.
This mentality has become so common, that much of the time, the honest student feels that he or she is in the minority.
So what, then, in an age where 85% of college students feel that they need to cheat to get ahead, is the point of academic honesty? Why take the long way while everyone else is cutting corners?
Though cheaters may be at an advantage in terms of their GPAs, they’re ultimately not doing themselves any favors. What good is a doctor who graduated with an undergraduate GPA of 3.9, if he or she never learned any of the information?
In addition, the stakes are high. If you’re caught cheating, you could be expelled from university entirely, which is far more embarrassing than getting a B, or even failing a class.
Above all, you should do it for yourself. Humans have a conscience for a reason. You should study for your tests, do your homework, and refrain from copying labs, so that when you do get an A, you’ll know that you’ve actually earned it.