Academic Integrity: A Struggle Between Morals and Mental Health

By Sarah Dolgin
Volume 68, Issue III

While most students studying rigorous courses and taking advantage of incredible opportunities take those academic programs for granted, they also take themselves for granted. It is commonly overlooked that more than a lot is expected of students, and many live the daily cycle of working all day in school only to go home and do the same for hours on end. Eat, kinda sleep, work, repeat. What used to be a yearn for many students to absorb new information and utilize school programs has now become a competition to load up one’s schedule with as many advanced classes, extracurriculars and other college application-boosting activities. It happens everywhere, but it is especially prevalent in affluent areas where students have more at their fingertips and are pushed to take advantage of them, because if they don’t it will look like they weren’t intuitive. Students have become lost in the frenzy of societal pressure, straying from the true characteristics that make up the model student. Often, through no fault of their own, students are driven in the wrong direction toward unhealthy workloads and schedules that, what makes a truly good student, honesty, has been swept under the rug. Finishing an assignment has begun to take priority in the eyes of most over honestly completing work.

Integrity has been compromised for a good night’s sleep, and one should not rule over the other. There is most certainly a way to achieve both, and if students and teachers can work together to contribute to a system in which students are truly there to learn and not to be bombarded with overwhelming assignments, there can be a significant change in attitude about education as a whole. This article is not a free pass to complete work dishonestly and immorally. Finishing something by doing something like plagiarizing or copying from others is not better than simply not doing the assignment. Keeping up one’s reputation as an active member of the student body should take priority over that one homework assignment, shouldn’t it? As long as your record with teachers is good, they appreciate a slip-up every once in awhile, as long as it is owned up to and handled maturely. It reminds them that students are more than just that. They are people, and they are citizens. Choices such as this should not have to be made often and are quite frankly unnecessary. The root of the problem is not the moral compass of students, or the sole assignment habits of teachers, but the warped cycle that everyone in the education system is stuck in. Loading one’s plate has taken priority over all, but what good is stuffing yourself? Do you ever feel able to be productive when satiated? Life should be a balanced mix of everything. A balanced schedule can increase productivity and just about everything else. Integrity, as applied to a school setting, is interesting because it entails the strength that students should possess in working for themselves and working to get their own positive experience out of the education system, just as it should be.

Why should values such as honesty be compromised for the sake of completing an assignment? If collaborative thinking and innovation is applied to the pressure-packed school atmosphere, there will without a doubt be a student body of not only motivated students, but those who work because they feel a sense of responsibility and integrity to do so.

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