Curious? Ask me. :)
Most of the time I really do enjoy being alone. I like having time to read in silence. Or paint my nails. Or clean my room. Or read a magazine. Or watch a movie while eating a bowl of ice cream. Or maybe to just drink tea and stare out my back window just thinking about life. By myself. I don’t understand people who can’t go a day, hour, minute, without being around other people. I don’t understand people who see being alone as a bad thing. Time spent alone can do wonders for mental health. It can help arise answers to difficult problems or release built up stress. And if I feel like going out and being with people, I will and I do. And if I feel like staying in my house, reading, sleeping, wandering, etc., I have the right to, without question.
Throughout my academic life, I have been told repeatedly that cheating is wrong. I have also watched through my last three years of high school as cheating has become rampant among students and teachers struggle to deal with the growing issue. It has always been a mystery to me though, why teachers seem so confused as to why an increasing number of their students are cheating. Since the first year of high school, it has been impressed on students by teachers, family, and counselors that your grades in high school are extremely important. The pressure on students to obtain high grades is increasing in response to the rising difficulty of getting accepted into good colleges and universities.
Why do students cheat? The real question is why should they not? The reasons obtained from teachers as to not cheat is that it is morally wrong, it only hurts you in the end, or my personal favorite, it makes you “the scum of the Earth.” But from a student’s stand point, those reasons are not good enough when a class, whose twenty point homework assignment you didn’t complete, is rapidly approaching. They are not good enough when you’re staring at that blank test, every letter and number looking like a hieroglyphic, as the minutes on the clock tick by. They are not good enough when everyone is cheating and getting ahead while you’re left behind because you decided to do what is moral.
What exactly is cheating? Some say that cheating is a matter of right and wrong. Well right and wrong used to be as easy to distinguish between as black and white. But as we have gotten older and expectations have gotten higher, there seems to be a vast ocean between right and wrong that is filled with various shades of gray. The word “cheating” is one whose definition remains unclear in a student’s vocabulary. A national survey of 25,000 high school students from 2001 to 2008 showed that over 90% of those students had cheated in some way or another. Some have said that this current increase in cheating is surprising because cheating is wrong and they never expected an entire generation to be so morally unsound. Students today understand that cheating is wrong, but they are not morally unsound, they are desperate. The students who cheat primarily tend to be the ones who have the most to lose: the honors and AP students. A recent study showed that eighty percent of honors and AP students cheat on a regular basis. The pressure to succeed weighs heavily on their backs and they will do what they must to meet the expectations set for them. For these students, cheating has almost become a survival technique. In the end, it is important that the work is done and that you have passed the finish line. Not how moral you were in getting there. Everyday school is becoming less about learning and more about the grade.
Why do students cheat? Because it is no longer a moral issue. There is no need to be honest in a society where it seems as if achievement is valued over character. It is the sad reality of today that the kids that are cheating are the ones that are getting ahead. They are taking the highest ranks in their classes. They are the valedictorians and salutatorians. They get into the best colleges and, if everything goes well, arguably have the best lives. A little academic dishonesty can go a long way. So why are teachers so surprised? With cheating increasing the way it is, it seems almost necessary for other students to cheat in order to level the playing field. There are players and spectators in this game of cheating, but those who sit and watch will be left behind.
Who the hell cares about what you heard? Why don’t you try going out of your way to get to know someone instead of just believing other people. You’ll be surprised at how wrong things you hear can be.
I have a friend and her name is Cydni. And some of her recent posts have me thinking about her and I feel the need to post something, so here it goes. I honestly admire this girl. Maybe because I feel like she’s one of the few people I know that are similar to me. It seems like she can take on anything: school, sports, drama, life, underestimation, anything. But I think one of the things I like the most is her cool-headedness. And not to sound conceited, but this is the thing that I think resembles me. Girls in high school can be so stupid nowadays; tears pouring out of their eyes or fists flying at the smallest things. It’s disgusting. But Cydni can take the words or things thrown at her and sort through them and come up with an appropriate response. Of course there are other things going through her mind, she’s only human. But she has enough common sense to know how to conduct herself in public. Today someone called her ugly and when she wrote about it, it not only brought to my attention her reactions to things, but also the way she feels about herself. Girls in the United States are slaves to “society says.” We have to be skinny, we have to have the perfect shape, the perfect hair, clothes, makeup, everything. And it’s all so vain. They constantly rip on themselves about not being pretty all because they don’t fit into this stupid, societal image. And I’m not saying that Cydni or I don’t do it also, because I know that everyone does. But so many girls take it to the extreme. There’s really no better way to explain Cydni’s reaction than to put it in her own words:
Today someone called me ugly. My reaction: nothing. I didn’t feel any hint of sadness, disgust, or anger. I was simply indifferent. Why? Maybe because I know I’m not ugly. Maybe because I agree with her and have accepted the fact that I’m not attractive? Maybe I just feel sorry for this pathetic girl who’s trying to make herself feel better by putting other people down. Maybe it’s all of that. Who knows.
Whether I’m beautiful or not, why the hell does it matter to you? When I look in the mirror, I’m happy with what I see. Not because I’m conceited or vain, but because I’m happy with myself. Now the real question here is, are you happy with yourself?
To me this is the perfect reaction, because it’s exactly how you should react. Cydni isn’t rail thin and maybe she’s not the perfect definition of an “American beauty,” but she’s beautiful, no question about it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that somewhere there’s a part of her that’s sad, lonely, and cold. There’s a piece of that in all of us. And I know that the things she does aren’t easy. But she works and has worked hard to be where she is now, and I think she deserves some recognition. So Cydni, if you’re reading this, congratulations on where you are and I hope you stay the way you are because you’re honestly one of the most rational girls I know and that I can relate to.