What did you say? You have never cheated in an exam and you are an engineer? Well, I don’t believe you. You can never be a true engineer unless you have mastered the art of cheating! Copy and paste should be the two words you learn to chant like a mantra! After all, that’s what’s going to help you earn your bread for the rest of your life!
Now if you have brought your snobby nose down and recognized that there’s no reason for you to be so snooty let me tell you how we did it back in college!
Well, in college, we were all very busy! We had hot gossips in the night, sleep to fight the fatigue during the day, movies to watch, the entire campus and nearby localities to stroll, restaurants to eat at and so many other interesting things to do than to study. So apart from doing the mandatory assignments that the professors set, we never sat down with an open text book before us.
It was then no wonder that we could never finish our syllabus. Seven days before the final semester exam when we remembered to sit to study it was always already too late. What other choice could we have than cheating?
It’s not that we never tried honestly! The whole of the first year. We studied day and night during those seven days trying to read everything, remember everything. But soon we realized that united we stand, divided we fall.
And then it all started. We divided the entire course among two or three people with consecutive roll numbers. And the rest was history. Copying from the one in front, yet maintaining individuality – if this is not superior skill then what is?
Boys were two steps ahead – they kept small chits of papers scribbled with notes everywhere, in the loo, in the folds of shirt sleeves, inside the socks!
Believe it or not, we all benefited from this arrangement. We got better marks and the superiority of our intellect level was established.
But things weren’t rosy always! Oh no! Teachers never became teachers munching on grass oblivious to the rest of the world! So they shuffled our seats! They shuffled our seats before each exam so we didn’t ever know whom we were going to sit next to! So we were forced to study the entire thing ourselves.
During one such disastrous day, I had my environmental science exam. The subject we always neglected with so many other heavyweight ones around. I had studied very vaguely during the night before between packets of instant noodles and cups of coffee and now was seeing black before my eyes! Literally!
The test paper asked to write a short note on Hydrosphere. I remembered reading about it, about the ratio of saline and fresh water, about the water cycle in some remote unreachable corner of my brain. I was suffering a black out – my hand wasn’t translating my mind into words.
Desperate I asked the one sitting before me. He was someone I had never spoken with before, yet he was kindhearted enough to let me copy his answer. He shifted a little on his side so that I had a better view of what he wrote! He had several statistics written down and it looked impressive!
I started copying, “The hydrosphere is situated just above the troposphere and below the mesosphere. It has a very stable temperature profile – with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. At moderate latitudes the hydrosphere is situated between about 10 km and 50 km altitude above the surface!”
Wait a minute! Above the surface! Hydrosphere! Surely the boy was also having a brain freeze! Worse than mine! He had confused between stratosphere and hydrosphere! Now it was my duty to save him from writing such obvious wrong answers even if I could not help him with the right one!
I leaned forward the second time in five minutes and was just about to tap his back when the guard saw me! You can imagine what happened next! I wrote the rest of the exam sitting on the lecturer’s desk on the podium at the head of the classroom!
I still don’t know if the boy got to correct his mistake or not! But that day I learned that, even though copying is good (it saves a lot of hard work), it should only be to build upon what you already know! 😉
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