By Merissa Anderson
Winter break is less than a week away and while most students would rather be celebrating the end of the first semester of this school year, many are instead busy hitting the books before the college hell week packed full with finals for every class.
Of course, as many students and teachers would agree, the undeniably best way to confidently pass your finals is to review past exams, show up to class throughout the semester and to thoroughly study notes before the final exam.
Despite these option, cheating is still extremely prevalent in today’s college sphere with nearly 75 percent of college students admitting to cheating according to a study by The Boston Globe.
Hutchinson Community College student and football player, Ta’Juan Williams of Daytona Beach, Florida, has seen the creative ways that students cheat on homework and tests in college.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff,” Williams said. “I’ve seen teachers look straight at a person while the person is throwing up the answers with their hands from across the room and then look straight at the teacher and the teachers aren’t even paying attention.”
Williams doesn’t support cheating but sympathizes with those who are cornered into doing so.
“People cheat for their grade,” Williams said. “Not everybody is that same and not everybody has the mentality to sit in a classroom and learn like everybody else does.”
Despite understanding students’ reasoning behind cheating, Williams in no way encourages it.
“I’m not saying it’s a good thing to cheat, but say you don’t know nothing at all, you’re not very talented in the classroom, then what’s your options?” Williams said. “You can either bomb the test or try to pass it by cheating.”
Williams also warns students of the repercussions that come along with cheating on college work.
“Getting kicked out of college for cheating isn’t anybody’s fault but yours,” Williams said. “If you don’t get caught, you’re going to feel very guilty about that but suck it up and say ‘hey, I got away with it this time but maybe next time I won’t have to do it and maybe next time there won’t be a next time.'”
Ultimately, Williams recommends that students simply buckle down and study so they won’t have to spend winter break regretting their decision to cheat.
“Just study,” Williams said. “Study hard and put the electronics down and get into your books. It’s finals week and you get to go home for a whole month and there ain’t no sense in reminiscing a whole month about what you coulda, woulda, shoulda did. If you want to cheat, don’t cheat – study. It’s the hardest thing to do but you’ve got to have that attention span to pass.”
If studying isn’t making the class material easier to understand, then the free tutoring services in the Rimmer Learning and Resource Center may be able to assist with understanding what will be on the finals.
Kimberly Shea is a HutchCC paraprofessional and part-time math instructor and oversees the math tutoring lab.
Apart from the usual cellphones used for cheating, Shea has also witnessed a variety of creative ways that students have tried to get away with cheating.
“We’ve had a student come in with problems written on pieces of paper and we asked them what they were and he said that they were problems that he made up and he just wanted to see if he could work through them but they were actually from a take-home test,” Shea said.
“We’ve had students that would try to write on their arms or write in on their caps and act like they’re thinking and flip the cap over or slip their sleeve up.”
With the amount of work that it takes to cheat, Shea recommends simply studying.
“First of all, cheating takes a lot of effort because you have to be very creative and you spend a lot of time doing that,” Shea said. “I would just recommend, rather than cheating, spend time going back through all of the old homework assignments and exams and coming to our math lab and getting some help.”
If a student does choose to cheat during finals or any other time during the school year and gets caught, punishment could range from a zero on the assignment to being expelled from college.
“Students can get an automatic zero on exams and really it’s up to the teacher’s digression,” Shea said.
“If you take it over to the president they could be removed from the college and expelled which means they would lose their scholarships and be kicked out of the dorms in a worst case scenario.”