The Integrity Blog

The Integrity Blog explores timely issues regarding honesty, responsibility, and fairness in academic settings. Every day institutions of higher education face ethical and moral challenges. This blog both acknowledges the current environment and offers students an opportunity to discuss these dilemmas in an effort to promote integrity here at the University at Buffalo.

Tips to Manage Stress While Maintaining Academic Integrity (October 2021)

Written by Grace VerWeire, Student Integrity Ambassador
Edited by Jeremy Raymore, Graduate Assistant

The beginning of the semester has surely come to an end as we enter our sixth week of the academic year! Fortunately for some, this means getting into a routine and building a schedule that can help them stay on track. However, it can be hard and sometimes even seem impossible for some students to come up with a comprehensive plan or schedule for the semester. It can be a daunting task: sitting down, pulling up countless emails, syllabi, and to-do lists of homework assignments and exams. Sometimes, this can lead students to become disorganized and miss out on important deadlines. The path of procrastination can lead students down a path of academic dishonesty as well.   

When a student is faced with the challenge of a rapidly approaching deadline, sometimes it can seem tempting to text a friend and ask for their homework answers or even purchase the assignment online. But one thing that students who fall victim to this behavior forget is the consequences that can follow it. Although it may seem harmless to copy a few answers from a friend, the truth is that you miss out on the practice that you need in order to achieve an honest degree. Your professors assign homework and readings in order to prepare you for not only upcoming classes, but your future career. Missing out on this preparation can be detrimental to your future. Also, by submitting someone else’s work, you’re not only putting yourself at risk of getting sanctioned, but your friend as well.

Here are a few personal habits you can practice to protect yourself from ending up in these situations and maintain your personal integrity:

  1. Make a list. It may seem silly to think that lists can help prevent you from missing huge deadlines, but the act of writing something down, or even typing it, can help cement it in your mind and allow you to remember it better. Also, by making a list, you can see all of your tasks laid out in front of you. This allows you to re-order them, move things around, and check them off as you complete them. Nothing feels better than crossing off to-do list items!
  2. Use a buddy system. You might not realize it, but your friends could be struggling with the same things as you are! Reach out to a friend, roommate or classmate to see if you can rely on one another to remind each other of the things you have to get done for your classes. Communicate with one another and reach out when you need help keeping your thoughts or tasks organized. You could also study in the same space so you both stay on task, also known as body doubling. Just make sure your work is your own.
  3. Focus on only one thing. Sometimes when we have a lot to do, we tend to jump from one thing to another in order to get multiple things done at once. It’s best to avoid this situation; multitasking can not only lead to things not getting done, but can also lead to incredible levels of stress and even disorganization in the long run. Choose one task and focus only on that before moving to the next thing in order to stay on track and succeed.

There are many other ways to reduce the chances of you ending up in a situation where academic dishonesty could be at play. By staying organized, focused, and level-headed, anything is possible in your academic career. Remember, honesty is always the best policy! If you are facing burnout, communicate with your professors and see if together you can make a plan to get back on your feet with integrity.

Check out the Office of Academic Integrity’s student resources page for resources to help you stay on top of your studies, or take a look at the following external resources: