Quarantine Day #23 for your boy Carl and it's honestly not getting any easier. This whole thing blows and I'm running out of negative words to describe it. Maybe I should have paid more attention in high school English.
Then again if I did, we probably wouldn't be in the middle of this blog together right now. You and me. Hanging out. (Your Name) and Carl just kicking it like a couple pals, getting ready to load up on some stories about cheating.
If you're new here, that's the jist. People send me stories of them cheating and committing fraud and shit like that. Then I post them to the blog and we all laugh about it. Prior examples can be found here:
If you like what you see and have a similarly stupid story about cheating, send it to me for the blog. All you have to do is email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll take care of the rest.
This week we have a dead brother poem, a confrontational concert promoter, a "jag off" professor, a lesson about the value of proactively communicated with professors, and a blue book scam no teacher saw coming.
Let's get to the submissions...
This Is A Pretty Fucked Up Story
Wasn’t smart enough to get into college right away so I did a PG year at a New England prep school to play a little hockey. My roommate and I both had the same poetry class and teacher, but he took it the semester prior to me. The teacher was an older guy that experimented way to much in the 60’s and openly talked about his old drug use. (Never seemed present on this planet)
Anyways, I had an assignment due and instead of taking an hour to right a poem, I just took my roommates from last semester and changed the date and name on the top.
Next class I get the test back. Written on the top in red pen reads… “I think I read this before, but I don’t remember.” I got an A.
Turns out the poem was about my roommate losing a sibling at a young age.
I don't understand the point of prep schools and I never will. Sounds like an awful experience fueled by distant parents that are too preoccupied with their own bullshit to keep a normal family so they lean on buzz words like "history" and "tradition" to normalize a $56,000 annual tuition payment so the boys can be taken away in adolescence like it's His Majesty's Royal Navy circa 1646. Fuck outta here prep school. Even the JV o-line coach has some kind of trust fund.
That said, you gotta figure Prep School is absolute prime territory for cheating scandals because (a) the teachers have to be so into themselves that they're oblivious and (2) you live with your boys and take virtually the same classes.
Remember in college when you and one of your roommates would be in the same econ class? Or if you could get the same communications class or whatever with a buddy? By end of semester you'd piece together a new cast of friends based on your class schedule, sharing/copying work when convenient and reliable.
Now imagine you live with half a dozen of your closest friends and you guys are taking the same 6 classes together. That to me has to be the biggest fucking cakewalk of academic integrity available in the American education system. Someone on the inside of Prep School can prove me wrong. But until then I'm convinced everything about the experience is intentionally designed to be S-O-F-T
As for your poem, you're sick. You know that? You're sick and you need help.
The Friend Dynamic
Went to SUNY Albany and there was a bullshit class called career and life planning you can take as an upperclassman. Basically all athletes. Easy as could be. We had to write a 3-5 page final literally “what I want to be when I grow up.” My fraternity brother and I at the time we’re promoting concerts so I figured i bullshit a little about being a concert promoter. My friend comes up to me 5 min before class (he had a different teacher one period later) and asks me to send him the paper. Not only is he too stupid to change it, but he forgets to even change my name at the top. Long story short, teacher says I know a few of you cheated, come see me after class. I play dumb, next class she tells me specifically to see her. She starts getting at me saying how another person in the same class had the same paper and we must have copied it from somewhere online. I explain he’s my roommate and must have printed the wrong paper because we share the same usb drive and both promote concerts etc. She responds with “its written too well for a student to have wrote it.” Wrong move lady. I berate her for 5 minutes about how I’m insulted and disgusted this is what the education system is blah blah blah. Long story short I get an A in the class and my roommate has to resubmit his paper.
You don't snitch. Not in drug wars, not when facing extortion charges and certainly not on your fraternity brother that is literally too stupid to function. Naturally, you should've been commended for your resistance to an easy out and I hope that included free drinks for a good long time for your buddy. Elsewhere, I think it's important we recognize the overwhelming strength of bonds that are forged through appropriately navigating a cheating scandal. With that in mind, I'm sure the concert promoting business took off. Can't imagine a better partner for entrepreneurship than a guy who can't put his name on a paper.
"The Jag Off Professor"
A few years ago I was taking an online class in the summer that had two exams, each worth 50% of the grade. This was one of those classes that everyone knew to take because the professor was too lazy to change the answers so a majority of the kids taking them had what we thought was the correct answers.
The midterm comes around and the answers are the exact same, and I gave myself a 100, in anticipation of the final potentially having different answers, even though they had not changed in several years.
The final was on a Friday in late June and had to be taken by the end of the day. I was getting picked up at my house at 4:30 that day to go up to my buddy’s lake house. At the time I was interning at a place downtown, so I figured I needed to take the 3 o’clock train home in order to give myself about 30 minutes to take the exam.
I get home around 3:45 and start the test just before 4. I had two buddies taking the test with me and we had a conference call going and all realized we were fucked. The professor had changed half the questions to stuff that was actually covered in the lectures. It got to the point that one of my buddies was texting his friends dad who worked in the profession to see if he knew answers to these questions (he didn’t).
Final score: 78
Average for the class: 89
I got a B+ because the jag off professor decided he wanted to test if we were paying attention to his Sunday afternoon Skype lectures.
I'm sharing this submission because I fell in love with the last sentence. "I got a B+ because the jag off professor…" is one of the most inherently entitled things I've read in this series thus far. Although to be fair, online summer classes basically serve no other purpose than a transaction of credits. You pay $2,000, they give you some shitty software and knock 3 hours off your graduation total. It's highway robbery and I don't blame you for skating.
Same time you can't fault the Sunday afternoon online lecturer to pull a fast one on the final. Even if history shows he's not changing the questions, the type of guy that voluntarily teaches classes on Skype in June is the type of guy that's going to pull a fast one. Gotta keep your head on a swivel with that crowd or else you might get a B+
The Value Of Being Proactive
Easily the scummiest thing I’ve done during my cheating days. It was college Accounting, and even though I had a decent grasp on debits and credits, there were still things I had regularly had to resort to my neighbor for answers. One day mid-test the teacher catches me looking over at her paper. I pulled a Michael Cera in Superbad, pretending I was looking at the ceiling or something. Nothing happens, couple days go by, we get our tests back and the teacher in red ink wrote on the top “keep your eyes on your own paper or you’ll fail. Final warning”.
Panicked, I hatched a plan and looked up her office hours and paid her a visit. I told her I get nervous during tests and sometimes it causes me to move around and I can assure her I was not cheating and cared dearly. She smiled and said “people who come to my office on their own time to discuss these things are always the people who are telling the truth, sorry for the comment.” I walked out of there feeling like a bag of shit but my reputation had been not only restored but improved to the point that I was a trusted student. Got a B+ and nothing changed.
Okay maybe not the sexiest story of all time. Sue me there's no concrete action here. This is more of a learning lesson that I want everyone taking home with them. Nobody has to write a paper on it but if you do I'll give you 2 points extra credit towards your final grade.
Lesson: when you get a shot to be proactively sincere with a professor during office hours, take the it. You don't have to be Johnny Fucking Apple every Monday and Wednesday 2:30 - 3:30 on the calendar. But at the same time professors are inherently self-absorbed and love sincere interaction with students. You'll always benefit from giving it to them.
In this case, you could argue there was added pressure to go 1-on-1 but even so you see the extreme benefit. Now imagine if you went in there before the semester's first exam and even more proactively explained:
This is going to sound crazy but I have spasms when I get nervous. It's been diagnosed although the name of the condition is a mouthful. I'm telling you this because sometimes it manifests itself academically - particularly during exams and presentations. So if you see me twitching or seeming panicked, it's just this physical tic I carry with me every day of my life. I'm working on it but still have some work to do. Wanted to bring it to your attention now in case it becomes an issue later…
** Insert near-immunity to cheat off your neighbors for the rest of the semester **
Blue Book Genius
Theres this one class at my school where the test essay prompts are given before the exam. The teacher will spend the class before giving the answers to each prompt, making it easy as fuck, but still my friends and I still decided to scheme the class. There were 4 prompts to study, 3 of them would show up on the exam, and you had to write about 2 of them. Because it was a blue book exam, you could walk into the class with prewritten answers. The only issue was making sure you wrote the answers for the questions that would show up on the exam. So if you're still with me, being the geniuses that we are, we realized that you could put two prompts in one blue book and two prompts on the other blue book and you’d be guaranteed to ace the test. You scribble in your blue book for an hour, pretend like you’re packing up your shit but actually switch out the blue books, and it was the easiest thing ever.
I feel like I just did the water-jug problem from Die Hard with a Vengeance
If there's 4 total prompts… and 3 go on the test…. and only 2 need to be written about… in theory you could perfectly prepare before each exam without having to take the actual exam.
My only dispute here is that this is literally the easiest test you'll ever have to cheat on. My brain can't come up with anything more simple than "Here's 4 things, 3 of them will be on the test next week" and then you actually get to cherry pick what you want in the moment? Hellen Keller was on your Dean's List. Grow up.
At the same time, this is is such perfect Human Nature that I have no choice but to respect it. People have been asking What's the most I can get for the least I can give? since the beginning of recorded time. Even when the circumstances dictate that you have fractions of a benefit to gain in cheating here, you're still going to cheat.
Some cultures shun that type of behavior but not here in America. No Ma'am. We actively reward self-motivated behavior to the tune of calling it Capitalism and basing our entire existence around its principles.
That's why we're the best.
We embrace it.
Got a story about cheating or generally committing fraud? Email me email@example.com. All submissions are anonymous.