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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Time and money spent cheating could be spent learning

Cheating is an epidemic in academic settings, and while it has of course always existed, it is rampant now that we have loads of technology to assist us with it.

Obviously, with Google at our fingertips 24/7, there is nearly no question that cannot be answered in a matter of seconds, with basically zero brainpower required. However, even when Google is made unavailable, many students seem to merely find a new way to cheat.

I have seen the most elaborate cheating schemes set up since I got to college — seven computers all set up in the same place, with one person prepared to “take one for the team” and submit something with the wrong answers just so everyone else can see the right ones. Everyone has their phones out too, in case they are in a class that can track your usage of other websites on the computer while you are taking a test.

Then — my favorite cheating method — people who pay some socially awkward, sweet kid to do their work for them, who then ends up feeling like they are forming friendships, when in reality they are being used and abused for their intelligence and willingness to put some effort into an assignment. The weirdest part about these cheating schemes is there is no shame in these practices. People not only make no attempt to hide their cheating, but they will actually brag about it.

My question is this — if you can spend so much time (and/or money) on figuring out how to cheat, why not just use that time to learn the material? What is the point of going to college and cheating your way through? This isn’t high school — no one is forcing you to be here.

Not only that, but you are also paying to be here. Paying to pay someone to do your homework for you. Students will always brush off cheating when questioned about it as a one-time deal, explaining that they “just have too much going on right now” and they’ll “go back and learn the material later.” I am willing to bet that 9.8 times out of 10, none of these students independently go back in the book at a later date and teach themselves material that they have already been tested on and moved on from. There is an undeniable sense of pride and satisfaction that most people feel when they accomplish or master a new subject matter, and it is a pity that so many modern students do not experience this.

Ultimately, this widespread cheating is going to result in a workforce full of unprepared people, who lack the knowledge they are supposed to have in their field. They will have the paper to show that they got a degree, but will they have the education and knowledge to prove they got a degree? It seems so pointless to go thousands of dollars into debt, only to reach the end of four years not having obtained all the potential knowledge one could have obtained. There is no point in having a degree on paper if you cannot prove yourself in the workforce. Employers don’t ask you a question at an interview and expect you to sit there Googling an answer to it. 

I am not here to preach that “cheating is immoral,” or that “you’re only cheating yourself,” but I just see an ominous trend occurring, and it makes me wonder: can this generation really make it through their lives and careers just relying on Google as their backbone to help them through everything? I suppose we will just have to wait and see.

Follow Talya Jaffe on Twitter.

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