nin137

Nick's Journal
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2007-12-16 23:59:09 (UTC)

Cheating

i have somewhat of a cognitive dissonance when it comes to
cheating, not because i am appalled by it but engage in it,
but rather, because i am appalled by it, yet am also
appalled by those who "rat" on others.
law school is just a festering pool in which cheaters spring
up like fungi. partially its because everybody is a type-a
personality, but mostly its because you get people in law
school who come from ivy league schools, have always had
straight As and all of a sudden find themselves unable to
put together 3 or 4 cogent paragraphs on the state action
doctrine.
the reason why law school is filled with assholes is because
they are predominated by the latter group of people. the
ivy leaguers who had always faired extraordinarily well
until they came to law school and had their asses handed to
them. these people freak out and it only seems a natural
progression that that freak out manifests itself in someone
cheating on a paper or an exam.

my first confrontation with a cheater was actually purely by
accident. it happened during spring semester as i was
taking a break from my civil procedure exam. it was one
only two exams that i had finished early, so i decided to
get up and get some water.
now, apparently there was some discord for a while at my law
school as to whether students should be allowed to get up
during an exam and leave the classroom. i'm assuming the
problem was solved when the first student puked all over
himself in class.
so naturally this ability to leave the classroom during an
exam lends itself to the temptation to cheat. now, i've
entertained the notion as well, but i've been held back for
two reasons.
1) is that i'd fee bad
2) i couldn't imagine that it would help me that much. face
it i'd have maybe 5 minutes at most (considering that every
second i spend outside i'm spwending not working on my
exam)...so i'd have to flip through the book or the case,
find the legal rule...BUT THEN I'D STILL HAVE TO DO MY OWN
ANALYSIS!!
in short, i don't get how people cheat on law exams...but
they do.
so there i was strolling past our lockers to the water
fountain when something caught the corner of my eye. it was
grant...he was hunched over something by his locker, without
thinking i took two steps towards him as he was getting up,
holding a hlaw book in his hands, quietly mouthing the words
of whatever legal question he needed aanswered at that moment.
i glanced at the page he had cracked the book open to...it
was a case that was the subject of question 3. i stood
there transfixed, mouth open, body felling suddenly cold,
and in complete and utter disbelief.
grant was cheating!
and during those brief two seconds in which i stood there
staring dead on at grant as he mouthed the words of his
nefarious deed to himself, i couldn't help but realize how
utterly pathetic he looked.
then grant slammed the book shut, threw it in his locker and
headed back to class...but not before running directly into
me.
he stared at me wide-eyed and for a second i seriously
thought he was going to try and knock me out. but instead
he brushed by me non-too-kindly and went back to the room.
so i stood there wondering what i should do. should i turn
him in? that seems so petty! plus its my word against his.
in the end i let it be and all i can say is that grant isn't
in the top half of the class.

fast-forward to a take-home final this semester. this guy
that i'm friends with has the uncanny abiility to completely
exhaust my goodwill to him within five seconds of my
engaging in a conversation with him.
he's the typical prototype of the person i mentioned above.
he came from cornell (think andy from the office, this guy
NEVER lets a second go by in which he doesn't mention he
went to cornell), he did considerably worse than he thought
he should have, and now he is able to justify cheating no
matter what.
so anyways, wrapped in his self-pity about his class
standing was an avowed stance that he was not going to read
any books this semester, but only rely on the "outlines".
well you can only imagine where that landed him. a few
weeks before our take home final he started saying things to
me like,
"dude, i think we should get together and bang out this
final the weekend we get it."
or
"man, we're gonna ace this exam."
i let it slide for about a week before the exam thinking
that he was just talking about studying for the final.
well, sure enough, a few days before we got the final he said,
"so when should we get together to get this thing over with?"
i stared at him and said,
"dude, we can't work on this together its a final."
"what? come on dude, don't turn all yellow on me. the prof
never said anything about that."
"fine ask him tomorrow."
the next day the professor made an announcement that we were
to work with NOONE on the test.
so i thought that would resolve my cheating dilemma.
but no.
we got the test and, despite the fact that in bold letters
on the front page it said, THIS MUST BE YOUR OWN WORK, DON'T
DISCUSS THESE QUESTIONS WITH ANYONE!!!
my cheating ivy-league friend had the audacity to say,
"so...are you REAAAAAALY gonna follow those rules?"
like i must be the biggest idiot to do so.
"yes."
"alright, well when do you want to get together to outline
the answers?"
at that point i almost socked him in the face. i was so
pissed, so now he thought he could somehow tacitly
manipulate me by changing the wording a little?
"WE CAN'T WORK ON THIS EXAM AT ALL TOGETHER!!! NOT AT ALL,
AND I'M NOT GOING TO!"
"nawh, nawh, dude, we're just OUTLINING the answers
together, not writing them together."
"good bye."
"oh, alright, fine, by jesus, we're just gonna outline."

so there it is, that that makes me so sick, the constant
cheating and also the backstabbing in law school, all
because some people came in thinking they were entitled to a
free ride on what they perceived to be their innate and
uncanny ability to excel academically.


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