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“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

What is honesty?

Honesty involves two fundamental requirements. The first, and most obvious, is doing everything in one's power to be true to ones word. The second is to do everything in one's power to be true to oneself, to be authentic.

To be authentic in a given situation, our motives need to line-up with the goals we are trying to pursue, and the goals we are trying to pursue need to be (within reason) attainable. If we set goals that are not attainable, then we are living in a dream world. And, if we are motivated to do something that is not stated in the goals we express, we run the risk of being manipulative. 

Why is it necessary?

The most straightforward way honesty is needed by a college student is through avoiding plagiarism. At OU, we have an entire office dedicated to issues of honesty and integrity and making sure the OU community is educated in such a way that ignorance does not excuse a violation. Thriving at OU demands an understanding of what does and does not count as plagiarism. You are expected to be honest. What is much trickier is how to consistently be authentic.

College is a time of extraordinary change. Understanding authenticity is a feature of understanding where we are starting. We are always authentic in reference to some other state. This is why grasping authenticity as a feature of a college student is so hard; who you are is in a state of flux. The level of responsibility expected of you is increasing, the amount of schoolwork you need to do is increasing, and so on. These demands, at the very least, push you to change the way you conduct yourself in profound ways. Learning to develop proper motivations that line-up with realistic goals will be a big step towards maintaining authenticity and accomplishing what you set out to.