Don’t Cheat Yourself
Teachers, parents, and other authority figures engrain into our minds that cheating is wrong under all circumstances. They say that others will look down on us, that it will go on our permanent records for other universities and employers to see, etc. They tell us why it is bad and how morally wrong it is; or rather how it represents a lack of morals.
However, have these forms of authority considered convincing us otherwise through other means? For example, ways that might make us feel ashamed on our own terms rather than by the terms of others?
What I’m trying to say is that maybe we need a reason that has to do with the way we see ourselves when we cheat, which I don’t necessarily see as a lack of morals. I believe it is a sign of lowered intelligence.
At the university level, we apply to get in and demonstrate that we have at least some brains to attend. This required showing off some capabilities of our knowledge (eg. GPAs and personal statements) which we certainly did not acquire entirely by cheating. And even if some of those grades were attributed to cheating, how far can you really go into college before unintentionally revealing that that knowledge is not really yours? I mean, there are only so many assignments, midterms and finals you could get through before it becomes clear that you don’t have any actual prior knowledge to accompany the material.
Knowledge builds upon past knowledge; if you suddenly decide to quit cheating post high school, it isn’t going to save you when your college classes start. You are most likely going to struggle.
When you cheat, it’s like saying that you don’t care to learn the material as well. Not only do you not want to learn the material, you don’t care to acquire more knowledge. Therefore, you know significantly less than your peers who are actually studying and trying to grasp the concepts at hand.
Shouldn’t you feel a little less intelligent compared to the others around you? You may have gotten an A on that midterm thanks to the student next to you who was averaging an A- in the class, but looking at your paper, do you actually know any of it?
It is not a moral motivation that makes you feel guilty; it is the fact that you’re not on the same level of intelligence as your peers in the class that makes you feel somewhat incompetent. And for that, cheating is this form of pseudo-intelligence that shouldn’t be truly self- satisfying to you.
This lowered form of intelligence will come to haunt you post-college too, especially if you are cheating in the classes that pertain to your major. We are all at a university to get an education and learn more about the major that we hope to secure a career in. However, if you’re cheating in these classes, it’s only going to bite you in the you-know-where once you have to actually use this knowledge at your job. Remember that BME test you cheated on in college? Well, that information may rise again at work.
You didn’t have the knowledge to solve the equations then — you’re not going to have it now. Not only will you feel unintelligent on the inside compared to your peers; it will show.
So for the sake of keeping our integrity via intelligence, why don’t we keep the cheating at a minimal? For the environment we are currently in, it’s seriously not going to get us anywhere mentally or academically with the competition of true intelligence around us.
Katrina Yentch is a third-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.