I can’t be the only one who’s dreamt this: You’re running late to class, and when you barge into the room you realize (A) that you’re still in your pajamas, and (B) there’s a test you totally forgot about! It’s a horrible feeling, being unprepared for something you can’t escape. I remember one particular time when I realized there was a Chemistry – that morning. I was sitting in English class, a place I’ve always felt more at home, and was freaking out when my friend handed me something.
I think about that moment now and I wonder why the temptation was so strong. I’ve narrowed it down to this: I was absolutely terrified. In a world where, for many, your GPA might as well be tattooed to your forehead, failure is just not an option. Out of fear, we reason that perhaps “borrowing” this information from a website or glancing at that stolen test is a justifiable means of saving our own skin.
The problem with academic dishonesty is that as Christians we are called to be different. We are not excused from trials and neither was Jesus. Though there aren’t Biblical passages about Jesus chillin’ in Biology class, he did go to school. He felt all the temptations, anxieties and excitements of being young, but out of love for us he also blazed a trail of integrity, compassion and holiness.
In the midst of a situation where you’re either asked to help someone cheat or given the chance to do so yourself, know that you are not alone. For every person who tells you it’s no big deal or that it’s only cheating if you get caught, there is a person who will tell you we need more honest, brave young people in this world where ethics and morality are often blurred lines.
I did not take the stolen Chemistry test. I just couldn’t. And you know what? My friend didn’t even blink. She took it back, stowed it in her backpack, and proceeded to help me review. I also became known not as a loser, but as a person who doesn’t cheat. I don’t remember what I got on the test, but it wasn’t the crisis my fear had made it out to be.