The only thing I was ever dishonest about academically in college was math, which I had my younger sister help me with quite a bit. I wasn’t a math major, couldn’t get most of the class, and felt that it was incredibly stupid that I had to take the class in the first place since it pretty much had nothing to do with my life. Later, when I changed my major after my daughter was born, I was pretty pissed, knowing that I could have taken an easier math class, too.
Today’s college students seem to not care as much as I did way back when—but then again, there are always people who cheat, I guess. At Ohio State in particular, 240 students were recently reprimanded for academic dishonesty in a single year—more than double the rate a decade ago. Students cite the pressures of the job market for their methods, but I wonder if it’s a declining level of respect for college in general? With college costs skyrocketing, many state classes akin to high school ones, and the value of the diploma declining—as well as with most kids attempting college in the first place, rather than just the ones who love school in the first place—it wouldn’t surprise me.
I know I was one of those bright-eyed young’uns who entered college with a reverence and respect for all of my teachers and the school itself, who also left four years later with all of my stupid notions shattered. From student-teacher flings to faculty self-absorption akin to that of any given Hollywood starlet to complete unfairness and favoritism that you find in any high school across America, college—at least in my experience—isn’t much different from high school, if at all, and with these kinds of “role models” to look up to, why would we honor academic integrity at all?
I left college just as disgusted with it at I did high school. Sure, a few courses came in pretty handy, but overall it was a waste of time and money (though I did enjoy some of it, which was probably worth the cost). I suppose that’s why I’m reluctant to recommend college to anyone, and to those people who see it as an end-all solution to their problems, I strongly urge them to use caution before they put themselves into that much debt over something that they may, in fact, never even require.
Then again, I’m also reluctant to admit that I’m $20 grand in the hole—mostly for room and board, which was stupidly required—for this overpaid experience.