The Pressure is On

Cheating Picture JWeibye
illustration by Jacqueline Weibye

Leaking exam contents, sharing notes, writing on the inside of a water bottle label… these are just a few of the ways kids have been known to cheat in the past. Cheating is not exactly uncommon within Ridgewood High School. Rather than being honest and accepting a lower grade or the fact that they were not prepared, students cheat to set up for themselves a brighter future. One might go so far as to say that Ridgewood High School students are gradually devolving into people who are not focused on learning, only on getting a good grade.

One of the main reasons students cheat is because of high pressure brought on by parents and peers. Parents push their kids to the limits, compelling them to take part in difficult courses paired with multiple extra-curriculars which can sometimes – and most often does – overwhelm students. Students devote the majority of their time to focusing on school work, leaving little free time. This pressure can also be magnified by one’s own will to do well and the goals one sets for him or herself. Moreover, competition between peers is intense because the reality is that friends are constantly competing for the same positions and comparing their academic and creative performances to judge where they stand. This only causes the pressure to increase as students are constantly judging and being judged by their peers.

In addition, to these social stains, preparing for college is also a major stressor in students’ lives. With excessive requirements demanded by top universities, high schoolers must be able to set themselves apart from others by taking on intensive classes as well as participating in an abundance of activities. While dealing with demanding courses, as well as high expectations, students can sometimes lose track of what is right in desperation and panic. Additionally, high schoolers have trouble with time management, which tend to lead to impulsive decisions and makes them feel like they have no other option but to lie and to cheat in order to achieve as others expect them to.

While there have been many attempts to prohibit cheating of all kinds, new technological developments have made it more difficult to enforce the same rules and maintain integrity. Every year, Apple releases a new iPhone with more advanced technologies than the last. In RHS, at least, students tend to feel the pressure to upgrade their phones to stay in the loop, leading to an increase in illicit activity as new features  make cheating easier than ever before.

Cheating is not beneficial in the long run – nor really, in the short. Students who cheat often believe that they can continue their habits and cheat their way through high school, but they don’t seem to realize that the more someone cheats, the more likely they will become addicted to it and continue these habits into an adulthood they won’t be prepared for.

Shrea Mitra and Shania Arora
opinion editor and news editor

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