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Student Blog: Academic Integrity

Student Blog: Academic Integrity

Every college student knows that the words academic integrity follow you like a lost puppy in college. So what's the big deal with it?

Academic integrity. The word is in every one of my syllabuses and I even had an entire class dedicated to discussing its importance! The rules of academic integrity to me, in the simplest terms, mean no cheating, and no copying. It's been drilled into my head since grade school, and at a certain point these rules seemed obvious to me, did they need to be reiterated every year?

I didn't understand the importance of maintaining academic integrity until I was in middle school, pouring my brains out into my social studies classwork, being a complete teacher's pet I wanted to go the extra mile. My classmate was completely lost, trying to make sense of the question when they turned to me and asked to read what I wrote. I couldn't say no, how mean would that be? I was too busy patting myself on the back for being helpful, I didn't see as he copied my work. When it came time to share out my classmate raised their hand and shared out what they had written on their paper, to which my teacher replied,

"What a great response!"

Of course, it was a great response! It was mine!

Academic integrity seems even more important in college than it did in grade school. This is definitely a feeling that can be felt by every college student as the punishment for plagiarism is reiterated with every paper I get assigned.

In a nutshell, the way I try to maintain academic integrity is by doing my own work. When I write my papers I make sure I do my own research and cite my sources, I do whatever I can to avoid it, finding online plagiarism checkers (who knows if they actually work) but at least I can say I tried!

Another important aspect of maintaining academic integrity is not cheating. The thing about cheating is that even if you don't do it, someone else might and that just might drag you under the mud as well. The best way to deal with this is to use your voice. A close friend of mine ran into some problems with a classmate of hers who she would occasionally give her notes. This classmate thought the kind gesture would ensure them the answers to the midterm, a big no-no! My friend immediately shut them down but was still worried about facing repercussions so they voiced their concerns and annoyance to their professor who was very understanding. While helping out classmates is great, it makes me very happy to share my notes or attempt to translate a confusing lecture, a midterm isn't the best place for it. Setting boundaries and using your voice in the event that things take a turn for the worst is best.

Ultimately, maintaining academic integrity just boils down to doing your work truthfully. As the 4th graders at my job say, "you're only cheating yourself".

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