A Whole New Level of ‘Writing Great Papers’: Cheating

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I got this link (The Shadow Scholar) from Scot McKnight’s blog (Frightening Levels of Cheating) which details a whole new level of cheating. I obviously haven’t got the luxury to do this since I’m not financially well of but even if I had the money, I would not stoop to such levels. Sure you might get the necessary grades but in reality it still amounts to zero. I’d be happy with my mediocre level of originality rather than handing in a superbly written original piece that never came out of my own brain. Talk about new levels of stupidity.

The Student and The Sponsor

GDR "village teacher" (a teacher tea...
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Yesterday I was chatting with someone (this is me being discreet) and the topic of support came up. Mainly support for full-time students who wish (some would prefer ‘are called’) to pursue theological training/ studies. That person said to me that, generally, support for the student was scarce because people who wants to support must be sure that their money would not be used in vain. Thus many do want to help, it’s just, they want the right person to help.

Thinking through, I do see the point of seeing ones funds being handled out properly. I see accountability as a necessity and vitally important. Who wouldn’t be fuming if they see those in whom they support squander finances that were meant for a good purpose to go down the drain.

But I have to disagree with the point of view that a lot of people with hold finances because they want to know that their finances are used to the best of interest. For starters how would they know their money is put into good use if they do not let it go first, if they do not gamble. You can’t know the potential of a student if you don’t start the ball rolling.

But another thing has to be noted. In theological training it is not the issue of mere academics alone that is deemed important. Character counts. I mean not all who go through theological training has the brains to read and critique to a certain extent academic arguments of scholars. And their grades will account for this. But does this mean that financial support for this student deemed wasted? What if this person had tried his best but he or she simply finds it hard to argue stuff in an academic manner? Gifts after all is not wholly embedded in one person.

And it seems like most supporters or sponsors is more likely to be dictators of those in whom they support and this is in a way unhealthy and bad. I do not discount the fact that students should be accountable. They should be accountable. But those supporting should see their roles not as dictators but those who are going the second mile together with the person they are supporting.

I have to state that I’m not against supporters and sponsors. Without them there would not be any student in seminary or doing their studies. It’s just that I would wish some knew the struggles that goes in the lives of students.

Thoughts on Studies

I once enrolled in a course that I had no interest in. I had no idea in what the lecturer was teaching and she seemed to speak in a foreign language. That tends to happen when you are new to terms and the course subject that one takes. So here i was siting with a blank stare and a note-book that was probably blank as well. I guess when my parents read this post they would probably have a chuckle or something worse. I hope i get just the chuckle though.

Who should i blame in all this? Should i point the finger at my aunt? Well she helped pay for it and it was her suggestion anyway. I was the reluctant mule in heart and attitude, but like all obedient in-the-outlook-teenager I tagged along. I think if i recall I only attended two or three classes, or I think it maybe more than that.

But thinking about it now, I should not blame my aunt. It was good that she did what she did and my parents sending me all the way for class. Good of them. So what was the problem? It has to do with attitude and perspective in life. In this I’d like to combine the two.

I hear and read that a lot of student whine about their studies. Sure we are all subject to whining as i am not exempted from it. I do it too from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that. But at times excessive whining should lead to personal reflection on why are you actually studying anyway? Why is it so important to obtain that degree or complete what you are doing?

The obvious answer to that is to obtain a nice paying job. Study is the rite passage to paper qualifications and finally a job that will pay you money. And if one works hard enough, opportunities to expand ones experience would arise and so will opportunities where thin wallets will be made fat. So in a way that is the normal perspective that we all have when it comes to studies, obtaining degrees, work and earnings. If one was to make a commentary on that, it would be just for the betterment of one person’s life, in other words personal development in areas such as status and earnings.

I guess that is just a general assessment of things.

But if an assessment like what i made above has any validity then it seems that nothing matters most than being all about my personal development. In our whining, when it gets to the point of expressiveness what we are really telling ourselves is this: “What is the point of all this cranking my brain? Will this help me?” The real issue now becomes, what will i get out of all this.

Maybe some think that after obtaining the necessary requirements and all that, all the puzzles of getting their career on the go will eventually take off. Naturally the ideal would be that what we studied our asses off will match the career of choice. If we go into accounting we look for jobs that capitulates with the expertise that we have developed through our studies. I mean there is no math needed to add that up. But in the real world sometimes the ideals do not math up. And so most will eventually work in fields that might not necessarily accommodate our area of expertise. So, with variables that do not seem to go in linear with ideals.

But regardless of that I think there is such a things as sticking through with studies even though we think that it is simply a waste of time. So, although you might not get the right job according to the field of expertise you poured out your heart into there might be some sense of way to see how it might contribute to our life. Here are some of my suggestions on this

1. Responsibilities

Regardless of the whatever course one takes one of the things that would probably embedded in the psyche of the student is the budding appreciation or in a way, apprehension on responsibility. This might help the perspective student once he/ she finishes to have a mental attitude to be able to handle work loads and also necessary skills to manage their time. Well it is not always this perspective at hand but at least the student who has swam the sea of plunging in studies knows a thing or two about responsibilities and the demands of managing their time. This I believe can be a foundational dimension or platform for tackling work responsibilities later.

2. Paper Qualifications

Regardless of how anyone feels about this, having some paper qualification (diploma, degree, masters etc) is in part necessary not for the sense that it guarantees a job, but it does create a platform for having options available to you. Although having this does not necessarily negate a person doing well in the workplace but it does smoothed the process of looking for a job in some ways. Well this is also besides the fact that some who have these qualifications find it hard to get a job. People without any of these might have to labor more but it does not mean that they are losers. It’s just that having qualifications of some sort helps.

3. Builds Social Communications Skills

Well, this for me has been helpful. Although studying per say does not necessarily help in this manner explicitly but it does in a way implicitly. Before plunging into college and seminary now (both in biblical studies) I was more of a loner. It has to do with my natural bent being an introvert. But my experiences of mixing around with people and discussion along the way helped in this manner. Although much of my personality has not dramatically changed there is some improvement in the way I handle my social skills. I guess you could say I’m improving.

4. Learn to Think Critically

For my case if I never ventured into seminary or biblical studies (or whatever college or university for that matter) I wouldn’t know how to use my mind to think critically on numerous issues and views. Without the experience my mind would be limp for that matter, unable to digest issues and ideas with a sound mind but rather a still holding on to my narrow understanding of what I ascribed from people. Learning to think critically does not necessarily mean that to be a critic on every issue (which I have to constantly explain to some people) but to be able to ask questions about ideas out there.

I guess there must be more reasons to argue for why studying is in a sense important for the sake of those of us in it for that matter. But i have to stress again that this is only my own personal views on this and do not intend to state that those who have made it possible to tread along the line of life without the need of education compared to those who have education. Well this is just to shed light to us who grumble though studying in college, university or seminary, and that there is some sense of purpose in all the mental stress we face each and every week.