Integrity, the Quintessential Value
I believe in integrity. Encarta’s Dictionary defines integrity as “the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.” My personal definition of integrity doesn’t vary much from the way Encarta defines it, I just add my own specifics such as honesty, respect, fair and equal treatment. I believe integrity is a quintessential value in life. However in today’s society it seems to be underrated. Sure, there are codes of ethics, but they appear to go un-enforced until someone does something dramatically ‘wrong’ and then the person becomes the center of attention and their ‘work ethics’ are brought into question. Still, these codes of ethics are there for a reason, and I believe in them because they mirror integrity on the job.
As a Criminal Justice major in college, I know integrity is essential to not only my career but my well-being as a whole person. I know there will be times in my career that I am going to be challenged seemingly beyond my limits; and when those times come, I am going to have to be able to take a stance – one that will be line with my professional standards and my personal standards. I know I am and will not be alone in these times. Every person will encounter these dilemmas, and every person will have a choice to make.
Currently I hold the position of a Resident Assistant. Even as a paraprofessional staff member we have a code of ethics and rules to follow. It is an interesting job where I have to wear ‘two faces,’ something that is normally frowned upon. However, I have to wear the face of “your friendly RA who is here to help you and build community,” and the face of “the RA who found you drinking on a dry campus.” It is a hard job. I am working with and around people my own age, with whom I live, go to class, design programs, and then sometimes have to enforce college policies. I believe that I must “practice what I preach,” so to speak, and that is the only way in which residents seem to be able to believe that I am not targeting them specifically when the times come when I do have to play the role of enforcer and not the “friendly RA.” By practicing integrity, I practice fair treatment and good behavior. This way, residents see me as a person who is there to help and is just doing her job.
Overall, the value of integrity makes life easier. Sure there are times when I falter, we all do. In the long run, when I do the right thing and I “get what I deserve,” whether it be a promotion, a raise, the job I wanted, the love of my life, or as simple as having a good day. This is why I believe in integrity.
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