Student Blog: The Importance of Integrity

Integrity has more of an impact on your life than you think

Student Blog: The Importance of Integrity

Ever since I was old enough to be writing essays in school, every teacher I’ve ever had, no matter the subject, has started the year by giving us The Talk. No, not the one you’re thinking of. The Academic Integrity Talk. If you asked me to list the top principles of academic integrity, I think I would’ve been able to do it when I was as young as eleven years old. Don’t plagiarize, always cite your sources, and don’t take credit for someone else’s work as if it’s your own. 

This is what’s been drilled into me since I was in sixth grade, if not even earlier than that. In high school and college, the talks have been more along the lines of, “we know you know this, but we have to say it again anyway to really make sure you know it.” Even though we all know it, I don’t expect those talks at the start at every class to go away anytime soon. 

I do my best to maintain academic integrity. I cite my sources—sometimes a little too much—and I do my own work, and any help I get from my peers is, as far as I can tell, ethical. I like to rely on my friends and the people around me for another pair of eyes on any written work I submit (sometimes including these blogs!) but I’m never asking them to rewrite it. I always want to be proud of the work I submit, no matter what it’s for, and for me that means that my words are what’s reflected on the page that a peer, professor, or stranger is reading. 

Although you might not think it, academic integrity also has a place in theater. In any theater environment, it’s about putting in the work: you’ll gain respect from your castmates, your directors, and every person involved in putting on a show if you prove you’re putting in the work to review your notes, music, and choreography outside of rehearsal hours. That way, when it comes time for review, they see who’s dedicated enough to rehearse on their own and ensure the show comes together well in the brief rehearsal windows shows often are handed. 

I’ve always been the type to put in the same types of effort, dedication, and integrity I put in for school into any theater production I’m in. My feeling is, if there’s anything I personally can do to make the show I’m in better, I’m going to do it and consistently put 100% effort into the songs, scenes, and dances I have the opportunity to be in. 

So here’s my advice to you: maintain your integrity, both academically and in every aspect of your life, including theater. The respect you will gain from those around you if you show you’re dedicated, can put in the work on your own, and can achieve your goals without cutting corners cannot be measured. It’s an incredible feeling to know you’ve done the work to get yourself where you are, and I think academic integrity—and integrity in every aspect of your life—is something that’s not nearly as credited as it should be for its impact on the way people see you. 

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