I harbor a deeply personal view of integrity that informs each decision that I make in my life. This is especially true of integrity guiding my relationships with others, my behavior in school, and my work to build a rewarding future. I see integrity as being about always doing what is right. More specifically, it is about establishing moral principles and consistently seeking to adhere to them. Thus, integrity depends on thoughtfulness as it relates to considering what is right and wrong as well as following through on one’s beliefs, seeking to translate them into action.
To provide an example of how integrity guides me throughout my life, it is worth considering the role it plays in academics. I am an especially serious student who believes wholeheartedly in the value of education. In this light, it is particularly important to me that I learn every lesson. I never take shortcuts, as doing so would mitigate my knowledge and understanding—including that which is likely to guide me later in life. I am thus someone who has firm convictions regarding what is right for a student. To me, integrity in school requires constantly seeking to optimize my learning—even when doing so could come at an expense. Thus, I would never cheat on an assignment. Although I am aware of students who do cheat, committing an act such as plagiarism would belie my sense of integrity. It would violate what I see as moral.
Of course, there are times in which cheating in school may seem appealing. I have found myself in certain instances without the time or energy to complete my schoolwork. When I feel overwhelmed in this way, it has occurred to me that I could plagiarize and take a shortcut. However, having integrity demands that I fend off these thoughts, never allowing them to become actions. In this vein, having integrity does not mean that I never consider doing what is wrong. On the contrary, I am someone who consistently weighs what I see as wrong against what I deem to be right in order to come to an appropriate decision and act in complete accordance with it.
Obviously, no human being is perfect. There are times when I make mistakes that reflect a failure to demonstrate integrity. To provide an example of this, I have determined that it is never acceptable to make fun of another person. Doing so is tantamount to bullying, which I clearly see as immoral. However, there have been times in my life when I have been taunted by others and rather than taking the high road I have responded with an insult or two of my own. When these sorts of instances occur, I tend to feel deeply ashamed. I know that I have acted out of accordance with who I truly am. I thus find it particularly important to seek to make amends. In fact, I would argue that integrity requires people to admit their mistakes and seek to correct them. After all, when one knows that they have acted in inappropriate ways, it is best to seek to correct failures and act in a more upstanding manner. It is for these reasons that I have always sought to apologize to people when I commit wrongs that violate my own sense of integrity. Even though I cannot travel back in time and undo my misdeeds, I do have control over how I act in the present and going forward. As such, an important component of personal integrity is accounting for one’s mistakes and truly seeking to correct them.
In the end, I would be the first to admit that I am a flawed person. However, I do have a strong sense of integrity and it guides me throughout my life. I am someone who thinks a lot about issues of right and wrong and develops a sense of morality from this type of consideration. Moreover, I seek to ensure that my own views of morality are applied in various aspects of my life, from my behavior as a student to my actions as a classmate, friend, and family member. Although I am prone to err, I always seek to act with integrity. Doing so is a guiding principle that I hold in especially high esteem.