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Cheating is never worth the risk

Cheating is bad; we get it. Cheating is defined by the Gunn handbook as taking (or lending) at inappropriate times a person’s work, information, ideas, research and documentation, without properly identifying the originator.  Everyone has heard lectures meant to convince them that all cheaters will eventually be caught and will face dire consequences. But if it is supposedly so terrible, why are students still doing it?

In my eyes, it’s pretty simple; it’s all about social image and at Gunn, social image is largely academic-based. There is an insane perception that every “successful” Gunn student is headed towards an Ivy League college. After all, wasn’t Gunn just ranked twelfth in a list of high schools with the best standardized test scores in the nation? It is extremely difficult to get through a week here without hearing students conversing about grades or tests. The pressure to do well and to fit in with the academic expectations at Gunn is so great that people resort to cheating.

Cheating is so appealing because it is so easy to do. It is so much easier to copy someone else’s homework instead of taking responsibility and losing points. Although cheating is obviously nefarious, the appeal of receiving the same grade by doing less work is greater than the appeal of choosing the morally right but labor-intensive route.

However, the reward is not worth the potential consequences. At Gunn, the first offense of cheating leads to a call home, an “F” on the assignment, a notification to the student’s counselor and, not to forget, checking the box for “integrity-questioned” on college applications. Repeated incidents will result in a lowered overall letter grade (if it is in the same class, then an “F”) and suspension for a day.

Aside from tangible school-implemented repercussions, cheating can seriously damage both current and potential relationships. If word gets out that someone cheats, people (family, friends, potential employers, etc.) in their lives will start to question their morals. By lying on a test, it begs the question: what else might they be lying about? Also, according to the article “Studies Find Cheaters Overinflate Academic Ability,” from the Education Week website, students who cheat more frequently tend to try and rationalize the act to ease their conscience. Soon, students start to value the grade only for the grade and not the actual learning behind it. When students only place importance on the letter grade, they will be incompetent once they actually have to apply the material.

Although it may be extremely tempting to cheat, it is never worth it.

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