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Amanda Huff

To Tattle or Not To Tattle?

Shouldn’t you know better? – Amanda Huff

The fact that I even have to argue with someone who thinks cheating is acceptable is completely baffling to me. Let me spin you a yarn.

During my English 102 class, the second semester of my freshman year, we had to work on a group presentation, centered on a topic about which we also wrote essays. We had to workshop the essays with our groups. A full draft of each student’s essay was due a couple of days after I spent hours working on our presentation. No one else in my group had bothered to write their own Power Point slides, so I wrote them all.

That day we got into our groups. One of the kids in my group came in late and handed the rest of us copies of his essay, which was only two pages instead of the minimum five pages. When it was time to read his essay, he said the file was “corrupted” by Microsoft Word to explain why it was so short. He started reading it out loud and I recognized his introduction – it was the introduction for our Power Point and one of the paragraphs of my essay.

I scanned through the rest. He had copied all of my work from our Power Point and tried to pass it off as his own work. I told him, in front of our classmates, that I couldn’t let him finish reading it because I had proof that it was my work. All he said was, “I guess we have nothing left to discuss,” and left the class. I circled everything I wrote and thrust the papers at my professor, pissed that this was even necessary at the collegiate level.

I remember this vividly, because it hurts to work hard and watch someone try to skate by without merit of their own. I still see that kid on campus from time to time. The few times we’ve made eye contact, he quickly looked away as if in shame. As he should.

There is no excuse. If the work is too hard, get some help. If you have too much going on in your life, talk to your professors-they’ll understand. Cheating does nothing but hurt your own abilities, diminish the hard work of those around you and discredit everything reputable academic institutions stand for.

It’s their own business. – Osa Aim

Ok, let me get this straight: there are actually students who have a problem with other students doing whatever it takes to succeed? Even though the means to their success might sometimes be slightly illegitimate, in school anyway, cheaters don’t hurt anybody. Just for clarification, I am not the lazy, intelligent risk-taker who uses his intelligence to support cheating in academic exams and tests. I am also not the pious, righteous, and overzealous individual who sits atop his moral high horse and judges everybody he deems to be less morally-inclined or hardworking.

Technically, cheating does a lot more good than harm. By that I mean cheating doesn’t harm anybody. If you’re the type who disapproves of cheating, let me ask you this: if you work hard and honestly and you get the grade you deserve while somebody else doesn’t work half as hard as you but cheats and gets a good grade, does the cheater’s good grade take anything away from your good grade? If you both get an A, does the cheater’s A somehow magically subtract from your grade and turn yours to a B? The answer is a flat out “No.” This being the case, why should you care? Just mind your own business and do your own thing.

I think it’s pertinent to take into account the level of risk involved. If you’re caught cheating on a test or an exam, you might be suspended or maybe even expelled. Without a shadow of doubt in my mind, the risks involved in cheating on an exam significantly outweigh the amount of work a person might do in preparation for an exam. I mean, let’s think about it. Which is worse: a few sleepless nights, or getting expelled from school and having that indelible blemish on your record? DING DING! We have a clear winner – the risk-taker!

I’m not advocating cheating, but I don’t think it’s an issue that should get other students mad. Besides, nobody is perfect. No matter how upstanding and pious you may claim to be, you can’t say truthfully that you’ve never gone against the rules or bent them to your advantage somehow.

Nobody likes a tattle-tale and cheating doesn’t harm anyone. I’m sure lots of readers agree with me.