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It’s easy for students these days to feel like they are drowning in tasks. College, and even high school workloads, can be completely overwhelming, and I have often felt like it is impossible for me to succeed.
Picture this: it’s 3 am. You’re sitting alone at a large table on the second floor of your university’s library, surrounded by piles of papers and textbooks so thick that you can no longer see the table. You are feeling a mixture of exhaustion, dread, panic, and fear. You have a final essay due in 5 hours, and you aren’t planning on getting any sleep. After this assignment is turned in, you plan to immediately work on your next essay on the to do list. Overwhelmed? This scene is more common in an average college student’s life today than you might imagine.
Modern students are feeling this extreme pressure because they fear the worst: if they don't obtain good grades, they won't graduate, won't get a good job, and won't achieve their dreams. Enter: contract cheating. By paying third parties to complete their assignments for them, students are able to feel more at ease knowing they have one less thing on their plate and a greater potential for a passable grade.
Stressful high school and college environments are the ideal hunting grounds for contract cheating organizations. Targeting students at their most frazzled and vulnerable, these websites are strategic about both ad placement and content, making contract cheating look like a very attractive offer.
Though the majority of students do not participate in contract cheating, this problem still has a major effect on an institution’s student body as a whole. The abundance of contract cheating in higher education calls into question the validity of thousands of degrees that have been awarded throughout the past few years across hundreds of institutions. Did these students truly earn these degrees through their own hard work? Most students spend upwards of four years working tirelessly to earn their degrees: paying for an expensive tuition, neglecting their social lives, essentially living at the library, and pulling all-nighters, all for the sake of earning that coveted piece of paper. The tens of thousands of hours of work put in by these students can, in an instant, become nothing but wasted time when another student is able to earn the same degree by paying someone else to do their work. To me, this is not just bothersome, but clearly an injustice that has been ignored and avoided for too long.
Students: Your education is a privilege. Millions of people around the world would give their lives for this right that we are lucky enough to have, and it’s time we take it seriously. We have the opportunity to change the world with this knowledge, and I see it as our responsibility to do so to the best of our abilities. I know that getting an education is not always easy, but asking for help when we feel the most defeated is the bravest and most rewarding strategy for success. Use the resources gifted to you: professors, TA’s, tutors, mental health centers, and so many more. By utilizing this support, we can take charge of our education and set ourselves up for successful and happy experiences in school.
Parents: Whether or not you realize it, your child is likely being affected by the issue of contract cheating. Support them in every way you can; by being understanding and empathetic, you can show your children that you believe in them, even when they don’t believe in themselves.
Educators: You have the immeasurably important job of educating the youth that will one day be our scientists, our nurses, our teachers, and our leaders. Make your classroom and your office a safe space for questions, and let your students know it’s ok to not always understand. The resources and environment you create for your students will be critical in shaping their educational experience; so make it count.
High school and university are never easy journeys, and no one makes it through without their fair share of scrapes and bruises. However, with the right resources, a strong support system, and a little bit of self-confidence, we can come out the other side with a wealth of new knowledge, ready to take on the world. It’s important to remember when contract cheating seems like the only option: you’re only cheating yourself. Tuition is more than just paying for a seat in a lecture hall and a grade at the end of the semester. Don’t just pay for the grade: truly invest in the knowledge and in your own future.