You’re only cheating yourself

High school is tough. From getting up at the crack of dawn to spending hours at school only to have to finish seemingly pointless homework at home, as well as extracurriculars to polish that college application. Many find it hard to find the time to really get your nose in a book and study. Frazzled students are a common sight in the library in the morning, especially amongst honors and advanced placements classes. When test day comes around, students can immediately tell by the panicked looks some have that not everyone remembered to study. Some may attempt to cram a few minutes of studying before the bell rings while others may accept their fate, guess the answers and hope for the best. More desperate students, however, may resolve to cheat their way through the test and hope they don’t get caught.

Whether students have hidden notes in their sleeves, wrote seemingly inconspicuous notes on their hands, or snuck a look at their phone under their desk, the teachers at every school around the nation have seen it all- teachers have seen it all.

Students who often cheat find themselves with no other alternatives besides the obvious: pass or fail. Regardless of a student’s future career plans, even indifferent students would rather pass a test than fail it. And if they believe they won’t get caught cheating once, then they are bound to do it again. Why spend hours studying when one can just look up the answers on a smartphone? Cheating is the easy way to get an A, but getting caught tangles up one in a web of trouble. In high school, students receive a zero for the test or assignment and a reprimand for the offense, but in college a first offense could mean suspension, expulsion, or even a lawsuit if one plagiarized from a professional in that field of study.

While cheating in high school is met with a failed grade and a reprimand, cheating in college can mean loss of credit or even expulsion from the institution. And college is the time when students learn what is necessary for their future careers. In high school, cheating on a history test when one wants to become a chemist may seem harmless enough at the moment, but as time wears on, cheating becomes a habit. When college rolls around and proper study habits are long forgotten, students will begin cheating on tests that will one day be vital to their careers. They may graduate with honors, but the honors are not their own. Without the well-rounded education they seemingly received, they will not be able to perform in the workplace to the best of their abilities compared to those who actually studied hard in college.

Accepting failure is a part of life. Without failing, learning from one’s mistakes is impossible. Resorting to cheating is the quick way out a problem that students only create for themselves. Cheating doesn’t just mean stealing another’s work, it means giving yourself a meaningless education.

While cheating affects everyone around the student, it is the cheater who suffers the most consequences. They miss out on their education, get their friends in trouble by copying their answers on their tests, and can lose the trust of their teachers when they inevitably get caught red-handed. A student who cheats is only cheating themselves.