Our Cheating Hearts

Cheating has always had a very negative stigma around it. Whether somebody cheated in a game, cheated on their significant other or cheated in school, the first thing to come to most people’s minds is “bad.”

But today, cheating has become so common in school, sports and relationships that if somebody who had no idea how cheating was viewed, they may have a tough time deciphering whether it is good or bad.

And the motives are many: “Pressure from parents to get good grades, trying to be as smart as other classmates and being too lazy to do the work,” senior Tyler Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he does an average of two and a half hours of homework every night. On top of that he is an athlete who is playing football at Minnesota State, Mankato next year to add on to his large work load.

Senior Madeline Rohlf said she thinks the grueling task of nightly homework is overwhelming. Although she doesn’t participate in sports, she believes a social life is very important. “I try to make a balance, but it’s simply not possible to get it all done,” she said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and homework can not be done in one night.”

Some students feel their only resort in order to get everything done is to cheat. “I cheat because I want to get into college,” Rohlf said. “That sounds extreme, but there’s so much pressure to get adequate grades and get into the colleges you want, it starts to not even be about learning. At the end of the day, it’s all about those little numbers that the teachers put into Infinite Campus, and how I arrived at those little numbers doesn’t matter as long as I’m not failing. Getting a good grade is the main goal, and the chance that you might learn something on the way is sadly just a bonus.”

Schmidt retains an impressive GPA and is often the one people look to in order to get answers. “It depends on the situation, but I like to try to help classmates understand material if there’s time to do it,” he said. “Otherwise, I let them copy, and that’s when I feel like I’m doing something wrong.”

Rohlf said there are some boundaries to her cheating. She feels it is important to do assignments in order to learn for the tests but she isn’t going to stop the help from her classmates anytime soon. “I don’t cheat on everything, but I will continue to cheat as long as it’s possible, and whenever I have to because for some of us, it’s the only way to get through it,” she said.

English teacher Diane Flaherty said CFHS cheating is “absolutely” a problem but isn’t quick to judge. “I really try to understand the motive of why somebody cheated. Is it laziness? Do they feel like they can’t fail? Do they feel like they just ran out of time? I think it’s usually one of those three. Or is there some pressure coming from outside? If I can figure out which of those four things it is, then I try to deal with that,” she said.

With texting, the Internet and the newly added ChromeBooks, cheating in 2015 isn’t a challenge. “As if cheating wasn’t easy before, the school literally handed us the greatest cheating tool of all time: The ChromeBook. Fast, efficient, glorious cheating. As if having the Internet, which holds every answer to every test and assignment somewhere within it, wasn’t enough, we have these things called Google Docs. Google Docs are truly a gift from God, made especially for students who need to cheat,” Rohlf said.

Schmidt isn’t always open to letting people cheat off of him, especially on assignments that take more effort. Once in awhile he says, “No.”

“Most of the time, people act like it’s expected for you to give them your homework,” he said.

Although cheating is apparent, Flaherty doesn’t actively search for it. “I am always in the mode where I just don’t think people would cheat,” Flaherty said. “I know they cheat, but I just don’t think they would.”

The stress of wanting to get good grades gets to everyone from the 4.0 students to anyone below, according to Schmidt. “I don’t think cheating makes you a bad person. I think it’s just the way our education system is so heavily based on grades that makes kids extremely stressed.”

Many, like Schmidt, will point to the education system being the problem making students more interested in getting an “A” than learning the material.

In Flaherty’s English classes, she preaches that it’s not about the points to her, but she isn’t sure how the world views the debate between getting a good grade and learning something beneficial.

“I think there are so many people out there, like in the media, that get by with things with cheating that nobody sees that it’s wrong anymore,” Flaherty said.

University of Iowa freshman Danny Watters, who graduated from CFHS last year, has gotten a first hand look at cheating at the next level.

“In college, I’d say there isn’t as much cheating on assignments because they aren’t worth as much of your grade. However, I think it does still go on to a certain extent,” he said. “Due to the fact that exams are worth much more of your grade, people often times take Adderall or Vyvanse without prescription to help their focus.”

Iowa State University freshman Sam Ahrenholz said students who cheat consistently in high school should be worried when they get to college. “First semester will be tougher on them than it will be for students who have already developed good study habits,” he said.

Rohlf hears Ahrenholz clearly. “ Unfortunately,” she said. “College will probably kick my ass.”

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