I live my life by a set of principled rules formulated based on my notion of morality—of what’s right and what’s not. For the most part, this is a non-issue as these align with traditional laws put forth by the legal system. For minor deviations, I do consciously make it a point to abide by the letter of the law, even if I’m taking liberties with the spirit in which they were intended.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I end up contemplating violating the letter of the law as well. Not because it’s convenient to do so, or because I aim to benefit unjustly from such a violation, but purely because my moral compass opposes what someone else decrees as “right”. I imagine something like this not bothering me, even if technically illegal, because I don’t believe I am doing anything evil.
After a couple of seminars on legal issues however, I’ve realized this is a totally brain-dead idea. Apparently, even tiny breaches of rules (which will only result in a stern warning or a slap on the wrist for a normal person here) can result in international students losing legal status, preventing them from completing their programme.
Now, a bulk of my life plan is predicated on leaving here with a degree, so I’ve decided to make myself aware, and play along.
So, basically, you’ve got to stick to your guns and principles—unless it’s (or could eventually be) tremendously inconvenient.