I was sitting in my western civilizations midterm, working on my third of five essay questions when I became acutely aware that something was amiss. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see one of my classmates acting strangely. He was glancing up and down and up again, his eyes switching between his paper and our professor. I looked over to him, only to find myself freezing as I realized what was going on. My classmate wasn’t looking at his paper. He was scrolling through internet pages on his phone and copying down answers. My hands started shaking so badly I could barely hold my pencil.
What was I to do? I was the only one knew what was going on.
I tried my best to steady myself and manage to finish my remaining two essays. Despite the fact that my handwriting was nearly illegible, I was able to complete the task. My professor smiled at me as I walked up to him. He was laughing a bit at the fact that I was, once again, the first to turn in my exam (I’ve always had a knack for school, okay).
I frowned, pulling my teacher towards me, and whispered, “Professor, the guy sitting next to me was on his phone.” Nothing more, nothing less. But in that moment, my classmate looked up, locking his eyes on mine. He knew, and he was angry. So, what did the little teacher’s pet do? Well, I rushed out of that classroom like it was engulfed in flames.
When I got back to my dorm, I thought that that was the end of it. But little did I know, I was about to catch a lot of flak for my actions. I ended up telling a few of my close friends what had happened, since I was a little shaken up by the entire situation. Whenever I recounted the story of what happened, I was met with either apathy or frustration. To my surprise, an extremely common response was, “Why did you turn him in?” A few people said that they could see it from either mine or my classmate’s point of view. Some said I did the right thing.
So, why did I do it?
Firstly, plain and simple, it’s against one of our school’s most important policies. We’ve all been lectured countless times about the importance of academic honesty and keeping up our own integrity, as well as that of our school – those lectures were not, contrary to popular belief, meant to be naptime.
Also, it’s just plain not fair that someone can cheat and get an A, whereas someone else can work their tail off and fail. We’re in college now, not elementary school. Cheating should have stopped back then. I understand the pressures, believe me. But don’t ever underestimate yourself! If you’ve made it this far, you are smart. You can do the work. You’re more mature than to do something like this.
Lastly, I just felt responsible. I was the only one who knew what was going on. I was the only one who could have stopped it. Above all, I respect my professors beyond belief. I would consider myself friends with many of them. I feel like I owe it to them to report things like this that can cause a lot of harm. If someone were being dishonest to someone you looked up to, wouldn’t you say something?
So, am I a little saint, or a traitor? An angel, or a demon? Well, that’s up for you to decide. I think I did the right thing, for the right reasons – and I’d do it again. I may be a teacher’s pet, but if there’s one thing I just showed you, it’s that I’m honest. And even if everyone else thinks that I’m a little tattle-tale, I still have that. No matter what, I’m still me – and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.