Quarantine marks a significant change in students’ academic ethics

Mia Ouyang, Staff Writer

   It’s safe to say that the coronavirus lockdown has affected everybody. Work has been replaced by Zoom calls (if one’s job was kept at all), and school has been replaced by online assignments and testing.

   As students settle into the transition from classrooms to websites, there has been a noticeable difference in their work ethic and motivation.

   Some West Ranch students have struggled especially with time management and motivation.

   “It’s tricky because I spend most of my day on schoolwork, yet I don’t get much done,” Shanzay Hassan, a sophomore student at West Ranch, reports. “I’m always distracted with something else, which makes it super hard to quantify how much I am actually working.”

   Others report not spending any time on schoolwork at all and feeling less motivated due to the lack of a set structure. Some stay up all night finishing schoolwork and then sleep until the afternoon, or some don’t do it at all.

   “At this point, I just do like seven assignments at 3 a.m. and then not do anything for four days,” an anonymous West Ranch student admits.

   “There are some days I am really productive and other days where I couldn’t care less about my assignments because I feel simply numb and apathetic at times,” adds sophomore Ashley Kim. 

   With this apathy comes the reckless desire to pass a class at all cost, and the rate of cheating has sharply risen.

   When students find themselves presented with tests that they have no motivation to study for with the materials to cheat laid out right in front of them, it would be naive for schools and organizations to expect complete honesty from all their students.

   On an Instagram poll, roughly 57% of students reported that they had cheated on their assignments since quarantine began, compared to only 26% of students saying that they had cheated before quarantine.

   “Of course I have cheated. I can only think of one person who might not have cheated, but even then I am not 100% sure,” Kim says. 

   There have also been complaints from students that teachers have been assigning extra work during quarantine, which only further demotivates them and makes it easier to miss out on assignments.

   “As a parent with boys in the house working, and as a teacher, that does seem to be the case,” Madame Gannon, the French teacher at West Ranch, admits. “Wishful thinking leads us to interpret that Fridays are free and homework has magically evaporated since we started this wild Coronaride together (and apart).”

   Others have said that they simply can’t learn at home like they can in a classroom. It’s too easy to leave assignments missing, too easy to make up an excuse and not join a Zoom call. Everything is due. Everything is late. 

   Without an in-person teacher and a set schedule, many people find their learning habits falling apart.

   “Home environment is unequal,” Gannon acknowledges. “The classroom is equal. I wish every kid in the country had that gift [of receiving computers], and I wish every kid in the country had a quiet, safe, well-stocked home in which to live and learn, but that is not the case.”

   “Because I have been isolated from my friends and I’m stuck at home with nothing else but school work to focus on, it makes me lose my energy,” Kim confides. “Some of my grades in half of my classes have risen. In some other classes, my grade has dropped because some teachers are more strict on grading in terms of performance.”

    As quarantine seems to drag on forever and as students have taken their  AP exams, many are left wondering if they’ll pass their classes, or if they’ll be left in the dust from months of online schooling. Yet there is a portion of the student population, who, with search engines open during tests and a phone out during the AP exams, won’t have to wonder at all about being left behind. 

   Nevertheless, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that after this pandemic, things may never be the same again.