Throughout my academic career, a single question has tormented me. Crawling into conversations, creeping into text messages, it lurks behind every corner I turn. The beast presents itself in various forms, but its sordid intent always remains the same.
“Can you send the homework answers?”
“You’re in math first period right? Take a photo of the test for me!”
Call me a goody-two-shoes, but I don’t cheat. Yet, to my despair, academic dishonesty reigns school hallways. The cheating epidemic in schools destroys the priorities of students across the generation — priorities necessary to succeed post-graduation. Young scholars today live in a culture of cheating’s normalization, where passing a class takes supremacy over actually learning any information. Transferred to the work world, such a mindset which acted as a life-raft in high school suddenly has a leaky hole.
The issue does not lie within the individual; an early 2000s study found that 95% of high school students had cheated in some form at school before. At Westmont, that would make up all but around three classrooms full. Outnumbered, a student trying to maintain integrity finds themselves at a severe disadvantage. How can one compete with peers who have the power of notes, answers, and google on their side?
Thus, the plague thrives.
Furthermore, a group environment not only fosters cheating, but also ingrains it into today’s developing minds. A 2007 poll discovered that out of 60 percent of college students who had cheated on tests, nearly 17 percent did not feel remorseful. Dependent on gaining an unfair edge, students have begun to see no issue with deceit. The lack of guilt demonstrates cheating’s hold on modern youth. As long as good grades reward such behavior, students will continue to rely on neither studying, nor working hard, but rather simple deception.
Cheating has countless students across the globe in a chokehold. Through the popularity of the act, students lose the ability to form a healthy work ethic. High grade point averages, abundant AP classes — these accomplishments look good on paper. However, students must learn the importance of failure and perseverance in order to succeed outside of the forgiving bubble that they spend their first 18 years in.
Colleges judge you based on a simple application; the rest of life, true character. Thus, if you do not care to spend time learning and growing in school, then why are you even here?