In this article, a student previously accused of academic dishonesty talks about the importance of academic integrity.
Would you want a dentist to perform your liposuction surgery? Or perhaps a janitor to fix your electrical lines? These two questions have one major question in common: would you want someone to perform a service that they do not specialize in or have not gone to school to learn the craft? In cases that involve academic integrity, individuals will get in trouble for trying to cheat their way through school, which means that they most likely do not have as much knowledge in the field they are supposed to be specializing. For those who attempt to graduate with a degree that they did not rightfully earn, it can lead to inexperienced individuals in specific fields that can actually cause more harm than help to consumers. Fortunately, institutions have systems in place to ensure that individuals who attempt this very route will be punished and forced to stop their ways.
Academic integrity is a serious matter, and often in any situation that involves individuals and the way that they work, it is highly encouraged that individuals do their own work and not copy or cheat off of others. If they do decide to use parts of other official documents in their work, quoting or paraphrasing can help to highlight specific parts that might be important, instead of ripping off whole ideas from other papers or things. In regards to institutions, it is important that academic integrity is upheld as if there is dishonesty, it would result in less authentic degrees and the whole integrity of the institution would be called under question. It is also important for educational institutions to crack down on cheating or plagiarism in order to ensure that once in the professional world, students are set up for success. After all, if someone in the journalism field were to plagiarize from someone else, their career could be over within a few minutes of it starting. Especially if members from the public learn about it. Once that happens, that individual’s credibility will fall very low and it will be hard for people to trust that the person has an authentic idea.
This same idea can also be applied with how academic dishonesty can harm members of the university community, as the individuals who allegedly take part in such activities and succeed can influence others to do the same, which may end in failure for the individuals who decided to follow those who were successful in their attempts. In this same way, individuals who were successful in fooling the system once will most likely attempt to fool the system in the same way multiple times following the first offense. This might eventually lead them into an even bigger failure in regards to getting caught. They might begin to believe that they are untouchable and attempt something bigger than plagiarism, which may lead to harsher punishments when they do end up getting caught. Typically, these punishments will then lead to complications with a student’s personal and career development.
Thanks to an academically dishonest action, there are a few things that could happen to a student. A student could be reprimanded, or even all the way to getting expelled from the university. At the lowest level, a reprimand and an essay, the student has an opportunity to reflect on their first offense. From there, the consequences only escalate, and could lead to the student failing a class. Failing a class would require for the student to apply to retake the class the following semester, and if that class happened to be a prerequisite to the student’s future courses, that means that the student will be held back at least a semester in trying to receive a passing grade in the course. The same can happen if a student gets suspended, except the student would be held back until the suspension period ends. In cases that are so bad that expulsion is brought up as an option, the student’s whole academic career can be ruined. Typically, not only will it be harder for a student to go back to school and finish their degree elsewhere, but it might also be harder for the student in their personal life and development. For example, factors such as disappointed family members, inability to study properly after spending so long receiving grades for cheating, and the financial loss from having to pay for more semesters of school. Not only that, after incidents like these, trust from faculty and other students may deplete for the individual in question, which could lead to loss of friends or any ounce of trust a professor might have had in a student. As for career development, the individual may not learn the tricks of their trade. After all, people study subjects in classes in order to apply them to their future careers, so someone who cheated through a course may not have as much knowledge in the subject as a peer that actually took the time to study during their classes. This can showcase itself when the individual is asked to talk about or perform a skill in a professional setting that they should have learned in class and become well-versed in.
A few things that I learned from my alleged involvement in an academic integrity violation are that I should make sure that I get a lot of sleep before any tests that way I do not feel tired during exams, start studying way before the exam date, rather than waiting so long and then begin to cram, and also to make sure that I cover my exam better with my body when taking my exam. Something that I could probably implement in the future in order to avoid being involved in a similar situation would be to make sure that I’m sitting far away from people so that they can’t see my examination answers, and for me to ensure that I am wide-awake during exams instead of napping. Cheating, copying, or plagiarism also are things that I will condemn, even if used in a joking context, in order to ensure that I will not follow in the footsteps of those who have succeeded using that path.
In conclusion, I believe that it is very bad to cheat, copy from others, or straight up plagiarize other’s ideas. Not only is it detrimental to the individual’s academic development, it is also highly detrimental to the individual’s career and personal development. This is why it is so important not to attempt academic dishonesty. In order for individuals to succeed outside of university, it is highly important for them to actually take the time to learn or study the material that they can obtain from an education. For the university’s sake, academic honesty also helps to ensure that the degrees that are being produced by the university are highly authentic and so the integrity of the university will not be called into question.