Cheating on the minds of students as finals near

By Tabitha Barr
Opinion Page Editor

With final examinations just a couple days away, the clock is ticking for students to crack down on studying while sleep becomes obsolete.

Students are either freaking out and trying to study a semester’s worth in the nights before, or they have given up hope and accepting whatever comes their way. Those who are struggling with course material may be thinking of ways to help them test easier.

Cheating on finals has become a compelling grade booster over the years for students. Students know cheating is wrong and can have extreme consequences, but for some, it’s a pathway out of failing.

According to Hutchinson Community College’s academic honesty policy, if a student is caught cheating, he/she is subject to expulsion from the class or even the institution. Giving in to cheating on a final is risking a lot for a student as in they could get kicked out of the college. Yet, students are still compelled to divulge in this wrongdoing. Why is that?

Students, and college students especially, are subjected to many stressors in day-to-day life. They have school, work, homework, a social life, and they have to account for everything else that the body needs in order to live and thrive. With multiple tests coming their way, all of which determine their final grade, their workloads get a whole lot heavier.

The prospect of cheating is presented to those who are worried that they don’t know the material as well as they should, those who have intense test anxiety, or those who are just too lazy to actually try and study. Cheating becomes the cushion that students think they need in order to achieve a good grade. But it is actually hurting them, rather that helping them.

Kelly Clasen, an English instructor at HutchCC, knows how hard it can be, but wants students to be honest with themselves.

“I do understand that students panic and get overwhelmed, and I sympathize with students who experience test anxiety,” Clasen said. “However, I don’t feel like a potentially higher score on a final exam is ever worth compromising one’s integrity.”

In college, the classes students are taking are those that are important to their future. Cheating in these courses can hurt a student in their future work while also hurting their morals. Once a person cheats, the brain then starts to back up why it was OK to do it, and does the same for future situations?

But for students, the only thing in their minds is how to not fail their class. According to a student of HutchCC who will remain under anonymity, the reason they have cheated on tests in the past is because they need a good grade and it’s actually “an adrenaline rush.” They know that it was wrong, but they needed a good grade to do well in their future endeavors.

Overall, cheating on finals is not worth the physical or mental consequence that can occur. For students struggling with the prospect of cheating, Clasen said to avoid the temptation to cheat during exams, they should be “sitting off by themselves and keeping cellphones out of reach. (She) also recommends that students avoid the need to cheat the old-school way: by studying.”

Cheating is not the way to go. A class grade doesn’t determine an entire future. It just shows people what they can do with how much effort they exert. To all HutchCC students, good luck on your finals and don’t have the temptation to cheat. Just study and do your best, and everything will work itself out.

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