I was a mediocre high school student… followed by being an exceptional college student, both for my BA and my Masters. And, for the most part, I was extremely honest all the way through.
With some big exceptions.
There was one major time I “cheated” in each one of these institutions, and I’m here to confess today. I’m here to let the world know of my crimes against the world of education.
Did I do something wrong? If given the same situation, would I do it all over again? You tell me.
1) Cheated in High School with Too Much Joy
In high school, I was given an assignment to choose a band or a musician, and deliver an oral report about their history and story. At the time I was obsessed with a band called Too Much Joy. They’re still great. If you’ve never heard their songs, give a listen. Totally worth it.
Anyhow, a couple of facts on the table:
No one knew who Too Much Joy was, so it would be very hard to question me on any information I presented. It’s not like I chose to speak about the Rolling Stones.
And information wasn’t as easy to come by as it is nowadays. There was no internet. I wasn’t going to be able to find out about an obscure band in the library or the encyclopedia (remember those?).
All I had was the jackets of their CDs, which gave me almost no information.
So I did what anybody would have done in my situation…
I made up the entire report, including how all the band members met and a fantastic story about how the band got its name. It involved all the members taking LSD, and when they finally awoke from their mesmerized hallucinogenic state, they found a piece of paper with the words “Too Much Joy” written with crayon sitting in the middle of the room.
I delivered my oral report with pride and power. It was a work of art. And I scored an A.
Is it bad that I’m still proud?
2) Cheated in College with the Sweetest Child o’ Mine
And then there was college.
My first year I took a basic music theory class. Why? Get this. I wanted to learn basic music theory.
However, I was in the vast minority in that class. Apparently it was filled with a whole slew of kids who had been studying music their entire lives, who just took the course for the easy A.
It was hard for me, being so vastly different from everyone else. Nevertheless, the class went at a nice, slow pace, which was exactly what I needed to learn the subject matter well.
But it didn’t last.
Almost overnight, it was like the teacher caught on and realized the whole class was overqualified for the subject matter. And he turned up the speed a whole lot of notches.
Time to Compose Something
After weeks of teaching us the barest basics of beats and notes… he out of nowhere asked us to compose something. It was like if the Spanish 101 teacher went ahead and asked everyone to write a 15-page thesis about the political unrest in Venezuela.
I wasn’t pleased and felt the assignment was unfair, at best.
Now, I played guitar, and even though the process would be slow and painstaking, I decided to take control of the situation. I broke out my guitar and a pad… and figured out the opening notes to the Guns’ N’ Roses classic Sweet Child O’ Mine. I wrote it all down, and voila, a perfect homework assignment.
All was great… until he went ahead and played all of our compositions before the class on his piano. One other student and I cracked up hysterically when he played my unique composition. The rest noticed nothing.
He complimented my work. Criticized the baseline. I got an A.
And I moved forward with my college experience.
3) Cheated in Grad School, Tech Style
My most recent experience with cheating my way to the top was when I was doing my Masters in Education.
I took a class in educational technology, which I was extremely excited about, since this was my niche.
However, I was rather disappointed when I saw how hopelessly outdated the class was. The articles were all 20-30 years old and entirely irrelevant to this generation. Clearly the teacher was a bit out of touch. And nothing screamed that more than when he asked us to write an assignment, but markup the entire text of the paper in HTML language, as if we were creating a simple web page.
Arbitrary of Arbitrariness
Now, we weren’t studying HTML. And the assignment had no connection to HTML. He simply had us do something that was connected to technology because technology happened to be in the name of the course. It would be like a history teacher making a student deliver their oral report on the civil war dressed like an authentic Native American… because they’re part of history too.
The assignment was tedious, unnecessary, and arbitrary. The highest level of useless busywork. And I decided it wasn’t the best use of my time.
I wrote my paper, like I always did. But then I hunted the internet for a program that would automatically change the document into HTML format. Found one, clicked a few buttons, and voila, I was done with my teacher’s incredibly silly challenge for us.
I mean, how could he be upset? After all, I was using technology to complete my assignment!
I Cheated… What Now?I think cheating is wrong, immoral, and lessens your chance of succeeding in life... and I don't feel a shred of guilt for any of these stories. In fact, I'm actually a little proud. Click To Tweet
So there you have it. The three times that I recall I blatantly cheated during my time in formal education. I think cheating is wrong, immoral, and lessens your chance of succeeding in life… and I don’t feel a shred of guilt for any of these stories. In fact, I’m actually a little proud.
So what do you think? Is cheating ever justified? Did what I do count as cheating? Should my universities revoke my degrees and should Tottenville come and snatch back my high school diploma?
Or should I hold my head up high, because my “cheating” was justified… or makes for great stories?
Have any interesting or creative stories of your own?