Monday, February 06, 2006

CONTEST: Take This Book. Please! (Week 1)

So this here site has just won the Best of Blogs award for best book or literary blog. I'm going to undermine my Gen-X heritage by not making a self-deprecating comment and by not making some too-cool-for-school remark about how blog awards are nice and all but I don't take them that seriously.

Instead, I will merely say that I'm delighted. Delighted that so many of you saw fit to nominate me, delighted that even more voted for me, and delighted that a panel of judges selected my site out of a line-up of excellent contenders. I am more touched and flattered than I can say.


I've been thinking for a while about shaking things up around here, and these blog awards have gotten me in a contest-y frame of mind. So here's the dealio, yo:

Every Monday -- until I run out of books, you run out of interest, or I just plain forget -- I'll be posing a question or a challenge. To you. You'll have till Friday to post your entry in the comments section of said post. I'll read everyone's entries over the weekend and announce the winner -- along with the next challenge -- on the following Monday.

What's in it for you? Sitting in my hallway are four massive crates full of books (left over from The Great Unbookening), from which I'll lovingly hand-select a particularly excellent one (or two or three) to serve as bait a prize.* I'll even pay for shipping by super-deluxe ordinary ground delivery.**

And now, with only a soup
on of ado, here's the inaugural challenge:

Your Greatest Episode of Academic Misconduct
We are/were all brilliant scholars, of course, but even the most brilliant scholar has at least one tale of academic shenanigans. Rusty has several dozen, so to prevent him from owning this topic, I'm making him the guest judge for this week. He'll be scoring you on moxie, shamelessness, and derring-do, with bonus points for public nudity and futile acts of defiance.

In the interest of you-show-me-yours-I'll-show-you-mine fairness, I will also disclose my own worst/proudest moment, but not till the end of the contest.

Word count: As many or few as you need. Besides, a loose cannon like you probably has no respect for word counts, do you?

The prize: Up for grabs is a trio of books that I believe fit the topic nicely:
  • Twilight of the Idols/The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzche - These works "show Nietzche lashing out at self-deception, astounded at how often morality is based on vengefulness and resentment. Both combine utterly unfair attacks on individuals with amazingly acute surveys of the whole contemporary cultural scene." I heard they were making this into a movie starring Brad Pitt.
  • The Immoralist and Strait is the Gate by André Gide - Two novels of self-indulgence and renunciation, respectively. Both these books are in nigh-pristine condition, except for the fact that I've underlined the phrase "moral agoraphobia" in The Immoralist. I have no idea why.
Remember, you've got till end of day Friday to enter. Feel free to post as many stories as you've got, you bad boy/girl, you.

*Ups to Mike for planting the seed of this idea
here. Except he's much nicer than I am and is just giving books away with no strings attached. Me? I like string.

**For that reason, I'm afraid I have to limit this contest to Canadians and residents of the continental U.S. Sorry! But I've shipped overseas before, and it took ages for the incision to heal after I sold that kidney to pay for it.


Dips said...

Congrats on a well deserved win !! I found your link through BoB and visit daily ever since ! Cheers ~

landismom said...

Congratulations, you totally deserve it!

Janice said...

Congtatulations :-)

Karen said...

Brava to you on your win and on your decision to unbook! I read something recently that is helping me think about getting rid of books: Aside from rare or autographed books, or books that were special gifts, etc., you shouldn't fret about getting rid of books. It's not as if they cease to exist in the universe. If you regret your decision, you can always get your hands on another copy.

Meanwhile, I can't help wishing the contest was last week, when I pulled out all the stops with my "big coincidence" comment!

Em said...

Congratulations on your win!

As for academic chutzpah--such is my paranoid certainty that the day I skip class is they day they go over everything I will ever really need to know, that the only time I have skipped class for reasons that were not throwing up was a couple of weeks ago I abandoned by film studies tutorial (sitting around gabbing about arty movies they'd shown us for an hour,) to go see a real movie with Roommate. But I first went to my professor and explained that I wouldn't be in class that evening because I had a test the next day (I totally did, too. And I passed it anyway...)
God, is there some kind of anti-award? Because I would OWN it. In a day over two weeks it will be reading break and I will be legally allowed to buy alcohol...maybe by then I will have grown a pair.

Anita said...

Congratulations on the award!

I LOVE this contest idea, but unfortunately I am the goody-two shoes of all time when it came to academics (and was valedictorian of my high school to prove it).

So academic misconduct - - I can't cite a single instance, but academic overearnestness - - that I'm sure I have some winners. Like the time in forth grade where I read an entire novel, using a variety of voices, into a tape recorder. My teacher liked it so much that she forced the class to listen to it for days. For which I earned the unending hatred of my fellow students.

Teacher pet city.

Fortunately, I've amended my ways, but still am not going to win any contests focused on illegal activities.

I suppose that doing half my second grader's project one night really doesn't count.

--Deb said...

Congratulations! And it's thanks to BOB that I found your blog, too, and am glad I did--I've been enjoying it for weeks now.

Unfortunately, I was abnormally well-behaved in school, at least, once I got into a school that made me work instead of getting bored all day. And in college, honestly, I never even got drunk once. My worst school misdemeanor? Doing a cartwheel in my classroom in 2nd grade, as I came in from recess. I don't remember why I did it, but I do remember being livid that the Note sent home from the teacher said I had done a handstand . . . not a cartwheel. Stupid teacher, not to know the difference!

Em said...

Oh! I completely forgot that elementary school existed. Now there I did some more unsavoury telling my best friend she looked like a boy with her new haircut...
Ohhh wait! I got sent to the principal's office once, and that was by a substitute teacher who berated me for getting into a scissors-duel with the diabetic kid. (He started it...)

Anne-Marie said...

mmm.... How about I got expelled from Grade 8 on the VERY LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! 4 or 5 of us skipped class and went to Mac's to get some candy - back in the day when you weren't allowed off school property. I have vivid memories of the group of us girls running away from the principal who caught us, his tie flying off to the side screaming 'I know who you are!'. This all happened during recess so we had quite the audience - including the teachers inside...

Worst part was my mom worked at the school and watched this unfold with the others as well...

doris day said...

So, I still get made fun of for this by my friends and my mom still slits her eyes at me when I jokingly mentioned it. From pre-school to 4th grade I went to a private school where my mom worked and I thought I was so cool because I knew everybody and got to hang out in the teacher's lounge and kick it with the nuns (catholic school, well, sort of). Then I got tossed into public school in 5th grade and was not used to being one in the crowd, so, about halfway through the 1st half of the year I told my friends that I was going to bring cocaine to school, yep, cocaine. I didn't know what it was, just that it was bad and was some sort of white powder. (Un)fortunately, at the time, my mom had provided my brother and I with a small Tupperware container full of baking soda that we were expected to brush our teeth with but that we pretty much just pushed around with the toothbrush in case she smelled them (yeah, I know). So one morning I dump a bunch of the baking soda in a plastic bag and take it to school, on our morning break I bust out this 5 ounce bag of “coke” to wow my young friends with my worldly private school ways. Long story short, they told on me because they were “worried”, my 5th grade teacher marches up and tastes the blow, I get sequestered till my mom comes, I swear to god I heard the wizard of oz wicked witch theme when I saw her walking past the classroom window…. I got the, “I’m so disappointed in you” speech and was grounded for awhile. Upside: didn’t have to brush with baking soda anymore…..

emc said...

You know what? I actually thought to myself 'Oh bleh, I hardly did anything in school, I was such a keener.' And then I started to remember things and man, I wasn't as good as I thought. So, while I never really did anything horrible, I'm having a hard time deciding what was worst. So I'm going with the one that has the most story behind it. Sadly that means I have to cut the 'Happy Tampon Day!' and indoor snowball fight stories, but those can be saved for another time.

In 7th grade, we started regular French classes. Because it was a tiny school adrift in the barrens, we had limited resources, so our classes were taught by my 4th grade teacher, who was Spanish.

We all discovered at the same time that I had a relatively good ear for dialogue and a killer memory and before long I was reciting entire conversations for the class, to demonstrate how very easy French is...if you're a parrot. I'm sure they all quietly loathed me, although I didn't care because even then I had that superior 'I'm smarter than you, shut up' attitude.

I'm still not really sure what it was about our teacher that bothered us, maybe it was the accent that made it hard to understand the lessons, or maybe it was the fact that we had to go back to the elementary wing when we were so clearly NOT in elementary anymore. Whatever the case, a bunch of my friends decided they were going to protest by skipping his class one day, as a team. I, because I was bored, I guess, agreed to go with them.

See, the thing about farm kids is that they mostly do bad things because they're not really bad. They just want to see what it's like. So they're generally not very good at it. Our plan wasn't to mysteriously be absent from class one day, roaming the halls like wolves. It was to go to class and then, somewhere near the middle, get up and walk out. You know, because that would really get the point across. The point that we weren't even really clear on. But it would totally work!

So the day came and, just like we planned, we put our books together, grabbed our stuff, and left. Me, and that one other girl. While the rest sat and watched us.

The best part, though, is what we hadn't considered. We were bussed to school, some from very far distances, so it's not like we could just leave. No, we had to sit around until classes were over and we could catch our rides home. So there we were, out in the hallway, with nowhere to go and nothing to do. The library was small and patrolled by a teeny lady with a class schedule on a clipboard. The gym was occupied. If we went near the office someone would likely ask what the hell we were doing. We had trapped ourselves. We were terrible at being bad.

I'm not sure why our teacher didn't come after us. He must have been as confused as we were. I don't know what happened the next day, because I, panicked by the idea of getting in trouble, played sick and cowered at home. When I finally did go back to class, all he said was 'what was that about?' and I mumbled something and scurried to my desk, and it was never spoken of again.

I think after that there was no more dialogue memorizing. And I might have been a little sad about that.

Beth said...

Whew. Academic misconduct...

I'd have to say the entirety of my freshman year of high school--namely, third period Spanish I. This was a class that just begged academic misconduct, and for the primary reason that my brother was in Spanish III with the same teacher and we had identical assignments. As a result, we cheated early and often, most particularly in the form of swapping off on doing the homework. "Hey, it's your turn to do the conjugation chart." "Aw, man. Okay. What font do you want yours in this time?" Said teacher tried to call us on it once, and we both said with great innocence that we did our homework on the same computer, and perhaps that was why it looked alike, Mr. B? Just maybe? Yes, that's surely it. We even made our mother complicit, persuading her to sign off on computer vocab assignments that we hadn't fully completed. (My sole interest in those damned words was in figuring out how I could use them to craft rude remarks about our teacher.)

But it all wrapped to a close at the end of my freshman year, when he announced that our final would include a vocab section from our books (okay, fine), a translation section with dictionary (also acceptable), and furthermore, a conjugation section where we would have to translate -ar, -er, and -ir verbs into eight different tenses. This being Spanish I, we had only ever learned three. Cue panic from the general class. Cue me going home, thoughtfully eyeing my final exam schedule, and realizing I had a band performance immediately after school that day. My band dress was black, calf-length, with folds in the front to expose show off the underskirt of the dress. Folds in which one could, say, carefully and cleverly conceal a crib-sheet. I made up a cheat-sheet for verb conjugations that night. I used it on the exam. I did not get caught.

And I switched to French the next year, where the teachers were sane and I did not feel compelled to cheat on an exam even once.

Anonymous said...

For a college religious studies class, we were assigned a term paper on "an American religious experience." As a sibling of mine worked in commercial radio, I chose to do an interview with a Radio Evangelist.

Now, my intentions were good. But the semester got away from me. I found myself careening to a post-holiday deadline with no interview scheduled (or schedulable) and no way to switch from my pre-approved topic.

So I made it up. Twenty pages of thoughtful discussion with a guy that didn't exist (although the small-town radio station I assigned him to did). When I couldn't think of anything original, I relied on cliche after cliche, and then had 'him' comment on the cliche of it all. Made the deadline, got an A.

At the time, I confided in one (and only one) of my girlfriends. She was horrified that 1) I'd do such a dishonest thing; 2) it worked. I never doubted either.

SGleason said...

I'm too much of a goody-goody to have cheated in actual classes, apart from recycling high school papers in Freshman Comp, but my brothers and I did work a great scam at the School Carnival.

They had a bunch of little wind-up ducks in a pond, and if you picked a duck with a blue dot underneath you got a prize. We quickly realized that when the booth attendant wound up a duck, she was exposing its underside.

We ended up paying 10 tickets($1)and getting 10 prizes each. Score!

mchalmer said...

When I was in first year university, I took a class that was about technology and history. We watched a lot of movies and I didn't really pay attention until it came time to study for the exam, and I realised I couldn't remember any names of films or what happened in any of them to make good arguments in the essay-style exam, so I created a short-list of important information to cram up until the last minute.

I got into the exam, sat down, put my little sheet away, started to write...and the professor left the exam. No envigilator. No one there but us students. So.... I pulled out my sheet. I think it's the only way I passed the damn exam.

You can't trace me, can you?

The MOM said...

Ooohhh. Which one to choose?

First quarter of my senior year of college, I was taking a fun, but not particularly difficult course on American narrative fiction. However, I also was involved in the college Democrats club, which spent an inordinate amount of time drinking in the pub on campus. I made the brilliant mistake of hanging out with my friends before the class final, and then proceeded to take the final ragingly drunk. Needless to say, I didn't pass the class. The following quarter, I met up with the professor for the class in the pub (he was a regular there, as well), and told him how much I enjoyed the class, but how I didn't pass it. He asked what happened, and I told him that I had a horrible teacher's assistant who didn't like me. He said that was awful, and he couldn't imagine how I -- a smart, well-read student -- could fail the class. So he changed my grade to a Pass.

Did I mention he was my favorite college professor?

Foder said...

God, I was a terrrible student. I was in my third year of university before I actually made it to a full week of classes without skipping at least a few (and was in 4th year before I scheduled a single class before 10 a.m.) and every last paper I submitted in 2nd or 3rd year was started, written and completed in the two days before it was due. Still, I usually eked out Bs or even B plusses because the profs were grateful that I was at least familiar with the basics of grammar, spelling and punctuation, despite the very sketchy research. I got back "Well written, but needed more depth" on practically everything I ever handed in.

Anyway, I submitted a French history paper in the first semester of second year on 'absolutism in the reign of Louis XIV'. It was a really badly researched piece of crap, even by my procrastinate-y standards, but I still ended up with a B+ ("Well written, but needed more depth"). Three semesters later, I took another course in French history, same prof, that basically just focused in more detail on a smaller timeframe within the larger timeframe of the course I'd already taken. The day before the term paper was due, I went to the library and took out five books on Louis XIII. Spent a few hours that evening mining them for good quotes, stuck the quotes fairly randomly into my Louis XIV paper from a year and half before, added a few paragraphs and footnotes but otherwise left the original verbatim. Updated the bibliography and handed that bad boy in - 'The development of absolutism from the reign of Louis XIII to the reign of Louis XIV'. I got an A minus ("Well written, but could have used a little more depth"). SAME PROF. Guess I wasn't the only one phoning it in...

Anonymous said...

Longtime reader, first time poster, and I don't know if this counts as academic misconduct, but I like it:

So when I was in college, I worked on campus safety issues pretty seriously, things like paying the student drivers for the campus door-to-door escort service more so they could actually fill all the shifts and lower wait times, adding more lights to campus, beefing up dorm security, etc.

In the fall of my senior year, there was a rash of muggings, some on campus, some a couple blocks off, a series of racist and anti-semetic graffiti in the dorms, and a report of a serious anti-gay hate crime that was ultimately revealed to be a hoax. Right before this happened, the campus police had expanded their territory well outside of campus, but hadn't hired new officers to make up for the extra work. All of a sudden, people were paying attention, but the administration was doing their fake-supportive thing and not actually trying to improve anything.

So my friends and I made up a few thousand flyers encouraging people to call and email the university president and the vice president of student affairs and ask for more police officers, more lights, a better escort service, and more dorm security. I also made it into an email that I sent to every student government senator and every president of every organization, encouraging them to send it to their membership, and to forward it to their parents.

It apparently was working very well, because when after I called the VP student affairs, he actually called me back. He asked me what I wanted, and to everything I brought up, he responded, "That isn't under my control" which was untrue. Finally I asked him, "Well, what exactly is it that you do?" Total silence for almost 30 seconds, while my roommate was dying of laughter. He finally managed to get control of his rage and respond, and the call ended.

From all this, my friends and I were able to get a meeting with him, the university president, another VP, and the new chief of university police. We came armed with a pretty decent report comparing our school to others safety-wise, it went well, and finally the president and the other VP had to leave to attend another meeting, while we stayed to talk more with the chief. The VP:SA was hanging around, because he was supposed to be in that other meeting too, and finally, he interrupts the chief, slams our flyer down on the table, and asks us what we were trying to do. He told us it was harassment and a distraction in a time of crisis, and that we were doing more harm than good (having been through similar crises in our four years where they had done fuck-all, we knew this was horseshit). Finally, veins standing out on his head and everything, he asked us if we realized that he could summarily suspend all of us, and then threatened to do it if we ever did anything like it ever again. Sadly, being mostly seniors, we never got the chance to find out.

I don't think my parents were ever more proud of anything else I did in college.

Soma said...

I was in the final year of my undergrad and I needed a few more humanities credits to qualify for a meaningless minor in "Behavioral Science." The only class that fit into my schedule was Sociology of Religion. Fine. I went to the opening lecture, received the syllabus and textbook list, and quickly realized that the professor was quite painfully dim. He'd get really excited about talking about the difference between a religion and a cult, but each topic would inevitably trail off into a meaningless and non-commital musing about how everything is subjective.

After that class, I didn't attend another lecture until the final exam. Instead, I spent my class time in the campus pub, drinking coffee or beer, or smoking far too many cigarettes with my group of fellow ne'er-do-wells. I felt a vague sense of guilt for blowing off an entire course, but I had just reached my twenties - beer squashes guilt like rock squashes scissors.

My bravado ended on exam day, of course. I was nervous, and felt awful about being so lazy and thinking that my existentialist musings in the pub were even minorly important compared to graduating. Then I read the exam questions, and realized that the entire test was composed of questions that could EASILY be answered with subjective, faux-intellectual, existentialist musings (one of the questions on the final was "What makes a priest special?").

I got an A- on the course.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the award!!!

Academic shenanigans, huh? Well, during my senior year in high school, I took an independent study semester to rewrite a dissection guide for our advanced Biology class, on the dissection of cats (not because I hated cats! But the guide we had to use was so horrible I knew I could write a better one). At the end of the year I still had this, erm, somewhat mangled dead cat that I had been using as my "model" for photos to go in the guide. Coincidentally, I also had an English Lit teacher I despised. So...on the last day of classes, I removed the cat's head, crept down the hall to the English Lit teacher's room, and burst in through the door, holding aloft the cat's head and shouting, "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well!" The shriek could be heard all the way down the hall, but since it was my last day as a student, the principal couldn't exactly give me a detention...

pudgetummies said...

I am sad. My greatest misconduct? I skipped class in the 7th grade.

To sit in the girls' bathroom.

Because I was at a really good point in my book, and I wanted to read.

TabloidMan said...

Ouch--going into this, I was thinking to myself, "I was always such a good kid! I never did anything bad in school!" And then I started thinking, and the floodgates opened....

There was the time I recycled an entire 2nd year undergraduate paper on the biological basis for male homosexuality for my 2nd year graduate school course on Biological Psychology, changing only a few phrases and wordings to reflect my better understanding of grammar. The result? An A. Which is funny because the original paper only got a B. And this after I skipped almost every lecture of the class because the prof was perhaps the most boring and tedius speaker I'd ever encountered and his notes were posted online and the exam questions were either drawn directly from there or the text. Bad grad student. Bad.

Or else the time for my 2nd year Shakespeare class a partner and I were assigned to present on the state of treating mental illness in Elizabethan England. We made a fun presentation in which we pretended to be workers at the Bethlehem (or "Bedlam") hospital teaching new workers how to do our job efficiently; however, while we were researching our assignment, we couldn't find any information on one of the required points we were supposed to explore. So, like any good university students, we totally BSed and made something up. This came to bite us in the ass during the presentation, of course, when--after we'd made that fictitious point, the prof (who functioned in lieu of a TA), said, "That's really interesting--I've never heard of that before! What a fascinating find! Where did you discover that?" Not wanting to be caught in a lie, though we were currently deer caught in the headlights of our professor's interrogation, we said, "Uh... we can't quite remember, but we totally found it." The prof (whose secondary specialization after Medieval and Shakespearean Lit was Early English Medicinal Practices) looked at us with pride and stated, "That is just so interesting! I can't believe I've never heard of that before! I'm going to have to go research that point myself immediately! Thanks for including that in your presentation!" We breathed a sigh of relief; she gave us an A+. Score another one for the poor student.

But perhaps the worst one I ever did was in Grade 9, when I poisoned my teacher. One of my best friends in Grade 9 was the son of one of the secretaries at my school, and we were hanging out in the school after hours, being "cool" along with the teachers and the school support staff. Yeah, I was a certified loser back in Grade 9. I was even (and this is important) in Band. I played the trumpet. And thus it was that we were hanging out in our Grade 9 teacher's classroom, idly chatting with him to kill time, even though we didn't really like him and we technically should have been home studying for the big Math test he was going to give us the next day. (Ugh--Grade 9 Algebra!) However, the teacher got up and left for a moment to go to the bathroom. While he was gone, I was pulling something out of my bag (I dunno--a Star Trek book? Yes--I was that much of a loser!) when out fell my trumpet cleaner solution. Seeing it, my friend dared me to put a few drops into our teacher's Diet Dr. Pepper, left sitting out on his desk. I said no! Why would I do that?! And my friend, using the flawless logic of a 14-year-old boy, replied that it would be funny. I, also a 14-year-old boy, could not disagree with his airtight argument, and so, giggling like a madman in his secret lab, I dripped several drips of trumpet cleaner solution into the can of pop and the two of us went running out of the classroom laughing. It was only when we were far away from our classroom that I looked down at the bottle and saw the warning: "Danger! Poisonous! Not for human consumption!" Suddenly, thoughts flooded my mind of being an adolescent murderer, a little creep whose bright and brilliant future had come to a sudden and grinding halt when it was discovered that he had poisoned his Ninth Grade teacher to death with trumpet cleaner--and all while he attended a well-respected Christian school!!!! Terrified, I made my friend rush with me back to the class in an attempt to grab the pop and pour it down the drain... only to find that the teacher was just finishing it up as we entered the room. It sounds like something from a TV show, but I swear, he was downing the last drop just as I entered the room. I felt all the blood drain from my face, and I knew at that moment that I was destined to go to jail for the rest of my life, after which I would spend eternity in hell while my teacher accusingly watched me from heaven, disappointed in such a star pupil. It was a rough night.

The next day was worse. Coming to school, I went into the classroom, fearing the death of my teacher--only to find my fears confirmed. There, standing at the front of the room, was the generic substitute teacher we always got when some ailment befell our teachers. Seeing her, I was convinced that my teacher was dead, that the substitute (whom I hated) would now be filling in full time, and that it was all my fault. All because I'd accepted a dare. I was sick to my stomach. Of course, it turned out that my teacher was only sick for the day, having developed a terrible stomach illness overnight after which the substitute was sure he would recover, but that didn't assuage my guilt.

And then Math class hit. Suddenly, I remembered the big test we were going to have today--the test I'd never studied for, because all night I'd been so worried that my teacher was slumped over his desk at school, a lifeless corpse. But then--but then--the substitute announced that the test we were all expecting would be delayed until Monday, when our teacher would be back. That meant I was Scott-free on the missed studying from the night before, plus I had an extra whole weekend to study! Suddenly, poisoning the teacher with trumpet cleaner didn't seem like such a bad idea. And though I still felt bad, well... the sub had said he'd live, so really....

At lunch, I told all my friends what I'd done, and received from them their praise and glory at my derring-do. I'd gone from guilt-wracked Christian youth to the Math savior of the ninth grade class in four class periods--and it felt great.

meg said...

In the 7th grade, I was the smart kid in my Geography class, and I liked this boy who sat next to me. He knew I liked him and was a total jerk to me, in true 7th grade fashion. He also knew that because I liked him, I would do pretty much anything he asked me to.
The day before a test, he told me he wasn't going to study, just cheat off my paper, and of course, I agreed. He spent the entire test copying every answer off of my test, and I pretended to look mine over as he turned his in.
He sat back down in his desk and looked over at me to give me a knowing smile, and I began erasing every single answer and filling in the correct one.
I asked him later, and he made a 16.

Mary said...

Congrats on your win!

As far as the contest goes, if I, goodie-goodie extraordinaire, steal someone else's story of academic misconduct and post it as my own, is that not ITSELF an act of academic misconduct? Or did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?

J said...

I don't think it's worth going into detail - but I had some serious integrity problems when it came to finishing course work, attending class and taking exams.

What I thought might interest you is that I also served as the student member on the "Academic Integrity Council." For some reason I gave many speeches and was passionate defense of the 'honor code' our University embraced. It basically stated that students wouldn't cheat and that professors had the burden of proof if students did cheat. Because the honor code had been written by someone fairly famous and important, several very important officials were immensely pleased with my performances.

Consequently, I think I deserve some recognition for general chutzbah. I always thought professors were watching me closely and, if I had been caught, it would have been quite an ...incident.

P.S. Cheers to you for being a winner.

Jennifer R said...

I don't know if this counts, and either way it's not going to win because it's not as bad as other people's, but that's all right.

I flipped off a professor.

Here's the scene: I arrive at drawing class at 2 p.m., class starts at 2:10. Teacher has a strict locked-door policy. We are supposed to be doing something like 80 quick sketches that day. I get in, start flipping through my sketch pad, and realize that I in no way have enough paper to last me through this 3 1/2 hour class.

So I get up, run across campus, buy a king-sized pad of paper (required size), and start running back. I am not a fast runner anyway, but especially not while carrying a large object. As I'm running in terrible slo-mo, I see the TA slowly closing the door. And as I make it in right before the door closes, what do I hear? The teacher yelling, "SHUT THE DOOR!"

That's when I deployed the finger.

Luckily for me, the teacher thought it was hilarious ("Hey, she flipped me off!") and likes me to this day.

Allie said...

How many cheat sheets did I labor over and then not even reference once because writing key facts and dates smaller and smaller with utter concentration turned out to be a great way to memorize things? Too many.

I remember turning in a great book report in 4th grade that I cribbed almost exclusively from the inside and back flaps of the book itself. Because of course no one reads that! When asked by my teacher if I *maybe* copied it from somewhere – I vehemently denied it. Saying I had just loved the book so much and it had been very clear to me. The sad thing is, I did love the book and to this day I don’t know why I cheated. Possibly I was so impressed with the flap contents that I was sure I could never do it better so why even try?

In High School, I had to read Crime and Punishment and after each chapter write a chapter summary and a prayer that reflected on the major themes and events from that chapter. (This was for a theology class in private school). Once all the chapters were summarized and prayed over, we had to turn in our work in report form. Well come on, how lame and awful is that? I instead choose the Cliff’s Notes of Crime and Punishment as my source text. Read, summarize a summary, crank out a prayer most often starting with “Oh Lord, help me, like RODION ROMANOVITCH RASKOLNIKOV, to realize that…” When I got my report back, my teacher was very impressed by my insightful (and concise!) summarizations and my “obviously very heartfelt” prayers. I got an A++ but I still bear the special mark of catholic guilt that only praying over Cliff’s Notes can give you.

Wassick said...

Looooooooong time reader, but had to post to say congrats! A well deserved win for a site that I sometimes check several times a day (you know, just in case :)

And my worst instance of academic misconduct....

Well, I'm notorious for skipping classes through my whole academic life (I've been a teacher, which makes that even worse, and am now most of the way to becoming an accountant). Basically, I'm that person that you see at each exam and wonder who they are.

Anyways, I took a "Rocks for Jocks" Geology class - supposed to be an easy way to get your extra credits. Made note of the midterm, promptly forgot about the class, did some of the homework now and again. Then, the week before the midterm, I got a call from a friend who was also in the class asking me where I'd been. I was actually studying for the midterm at the time. Apparently, the prof had moved the midterm back one week and I'd missed it.

After the stunned silence that lasted many minutes, I thanked the friend, hung up, and freaked out. Once I calmed down, I called the prof and told him I'd missed the midterm. I made a huge fuss about the fact that the timeline is a legal document, etc. (sounding much gruffer than I felt) and, I guess it was true, because he "allowed" me to make my final exam worth the total of the midterm and final.

I did (fortunately) end up passing the class - C's get degrees.

Antipodean said...

Congratulations on the Best of Blogs - most exciting :D

Now, I am aware you'd have to sell a kidney to post to me (probably Arrested Development dvds just took a month and came via BELGIUM, I mean, who knew that was on the way?), but can I still enter for the glory of not winning?

In the unlikely event, who can just send them to someone else, right?


I threw an orange at a teacher, because I was a totally bad ass eight year old. Or maybe I was trying to hit some stinky boy who had failed to adhere to the rules of hat chasey and my aim was off.

Details, details.

I had to go and sit on the black seat, and my name was put in THE BLACK BOOK. Needless to say, I was a paragon of virtue for the rest of my primary school career.

Mary, that is a truly excellent idea. I'll quickly share what is in my mind the best academic misconduct EVER. A guy a few years above me was sitting his final English exams, and realised that he had read two books from the same section, and had nothing to write about for the section B essay.

So he INVENTED a BOOK. Complete with characters, and themes, and foreshadowing, and quotes. I was mind boggled at the brilliance - he must have baffled the examiners, because he got a decent grade.


Emily said...

I'm still proud of the mutiny I incited in my high school senior English class. We had finally reached the end of The Brothers Karamazov and our teacher was giving us our essay assignments. (Incidentally, I read every page of that book, and I still regret it. If I could go back in time and give my younger self a copy of Cliff's Notes, I would.) After about twenty minutes of the teacher explaining what an essay was and that she expected us to back up our claims with (gasp!) references to the text, she told us to underline our thesis statements.

Either I'd had far two much Dostoevsky by half, or the cheerful kitten poster on the wall advising me to "Hang in there!" had finally gotten to me, because I snapped. I stood up and, in front of the entire class, told her, "For the love of God, this is AP Literature. We're seniors in high school. I'm not going to underline my thesis statement. If you can't find it, I haven't written it well enough." The class cheered. Later, at conferences, the teacher told my parents I'd humiliated her and made her cry. She spent the rest of the semester shooting death glares at me. In any case, we didn't have to underline any more thesis statements, so I counted it as a win.

My second story isn't about anything I did, but just an example of how cool my chemistry teacher was. That year, I sat near three of the dumbest young men in the class. They cheated off me constantly, though not with any real subtlety. One day, as our teacher was collecting the tests, he turned to one of the boys and asked to see his paper. The boy proudly handed it to him and glowed as the teacher praised his correct answers. Then the teacher looked straight at me and said, "Emily, you missed number 14. You should have studied chapter 8 more carefully." The class laughed and I apologized. The teacher then smiled at the three now petrified boys and told them that, if they'd like another shot at number 14, they could meet him after school and take the test again.

Tamara said...

What I learned in my college Shakespeare class, lie your ass off.

I took the class because I thought it would be a good way to get an English credit out of the way, brush up on my Shakespeare and... I'm a moron. No one warned me never to take an 8:00 AM class. I thought it would be fine. I was wrong. We had two papers and a final. I did decently on the first paper, so I rebelled and didn't do the second one, and then barely passed the final.

Three days later I get a call from my TA apologizing profusely, but she just couldn't find the grade for my second paper and wondered what it was so she could finish my score and get grades in. Lied like a champ and told her it was around the same as the first paper, but I couldn't remember the exact grade. She asked if I had a copy of the paper, I lied again and said I had wiped my hard drive... no I had no copy. She said not to worry about it, that she would just give me the same grade as I got on my first paper and call it a day.

I felt so guilty and I thought for sure I was going to get kicked out of school. I had elaborate plots all worked out in my head. I almost wrote the paper so that if anyone asked I'd have a copy. Now, I lie for a living...

Ron said...

My greatest misconduct? I skipped class in the 7th grade.

To sit in the girls' bathroom.

Because I was at a really good point in my book, and I wanted to read.

And I'm a boy.


Amy Jones said...

10th Grade. New American English teacher who came out the gate a hardass. Handed us a first-day syllabus with a breakdown of how many points each type of assignment and test would be worth as well as total point values for A-F for the semester. Spring semester comes, I get the syllabus, and oh no. Term paper. Ten pages on a random book by an author of her choosing. Except... the term paper isn't pass/fail, it isn't even worth 1/3 of my grade. So I .. just didn't do it. Went through the motions, pretended to be totally engrossed in Rabbit Run and generally slacked off. A few friends noticed my lack of stress so I pointed out that if we did well on everything else, we could all skip the paper and still get B's.

No one handed in a term paper.

Juliane said...

Love the contest!

Here's my entry: 12th grade honors physics. Our teacher is a real Poindexter but think's he's *so* not. At 16yo, I am so bored with life, I find the whole concept of this dweeb trying to, like, teach me anything, that I, gag, can hardly be bothered, ya know? We were doing an in-class exercise with electric current (current in parallel or series) following the questions in a book which was handed out specifically for this one exercise. My partner and I got the teacher's edition of the workbook b/c this cretin handed it out to us. In my I-am-so-mature-for-my-age manner, I figure no big deal. Even if I know the answer is "47", I still don't know how to solve the meaning of life, right? So I'm following the instructions, minding my own business, trying to work backwards from the answer to figure out how this all works. There's no grade, no timelimit, just independent study. One of the students asks Poindexter a question he can't solve (surprise! there were lots of budding Einstein's in this class) so he starts rummaging around to find the teacher's edition. Aw crap. My partner walks quietly back to her seat to leave me to take the heat. I tell him I have it and he just starts shaking his head mumbling about "not right, this won't do". I try to keep working but the idiot has just walked off with my only copy of the workbook. When I bring this to his attention he starts to get into it with me about cheating. I, no holds barred, start hollaring about his incompetence as a professor that 1) he's the dumb a** who gave me that book in the first place, 2) even with the teacher's edition he can't answer this guy's question, 3) since he refuses to teach me can he just give me the F'in book so I can figure out what I did wrong with my resistors?! He handed me a new book and left me alone for the rest of the period. My partner never came back.

Doppelganger said...

Oh, man. These are awesome. I don't envy Rusty having to be the judge. Now I'm all fired up and want to tell my stories, but I said I'd wait till the end, so that's what I'm going to do.

Keep 'em coming!

missbanshee said...

Heh. Hehehehheheheh. Which to choose? When I used to sneak inside at recess and hide all the teachers editions? When I stole all the Fallout Shelter signs in high school? (I had help with that one.) When I blatantly slept through the entirety of Shakespearian Tragedies my last year at college and got a rave review of my final from the prof, who told me if I ever needed a reccomendation EVER, to call him? No, no, it would have to be senior year at college, wherein we passed a bottle of Wild Turkey around the room in Environmental Science right in front of our blind as a bat professor. He was really blind, y'all. We were swilling from the bottle three feet in front of him. Taking advantage of the handicapped. Thank Jeebus for internet anonymity.

Carrie Ann said...

Yay for your BoB award!

Blessed with the ability to recognize a weak teacher, I often tested the limits to see how little work I could do while maintaining an A- average. I faked my way through pre-writing journals, note-taking exercises, and "show your work" calculus problems. I lied a lot, basically. But the most extreme case was in 9th grade "Civics" class. We were assigned a project on a specific subject in recent history. There had to be a display, which would include several elements - mainly, a 20 page research paper. Well, Sunday night rolls around and I'm frantically assembling my display piece on Title IX. It becomes clear that I won't finish the paper. I quickly decide that my rather ditzy young teacher won't check for all the components of the project on Monday (she'll have about 75 to go through), so I'll write it the next night.

That plan goes just perfectly. She doesn't look at the projects, and she doesn't mention anything to me about the paper. So I start to write it that night. But... it's not quite finished. Again, Teach says nothing on Tuesday. Now that the deadline has passed, all urgency to finish the paper disappears. It becomes a sort of game - how long can I go? So I keep working on it, refining it. Finally on Thursday she pulls me aside and says that she can't seem to find my paper. I play dumb of course, and say that I'll try to look for it, and she agrees to do the same.

That night I complete the paper, print it out, and then promptly wrinkle it up, rip off one corner of a page, and - this is the clincher - step on it with a dirty shoe in a couple of places. I rush into her class before 1st period on Friday and say that someone found it on the ground in the hallway by my locker - it must have fallen off the display when I brought it to school! Teach is very relieved. I got an A- on the project.

God, I feel so much better now that that's off my chest.

Jon said...

When I was a freshman in high school, I forgot to do a paper in my World History class about the West's Crusader mentality against the Arab world (as you can tell, I grew up in a very liberal community). The teacher called on me, saying that I did not hand in the test. To cover my ass, I lied through my teeth:

Me: "Yes I did. I handed it in on time. You gave me a B- on it."

Teacher: "I did?"

Me: "Oh yeah."

He bought it and I got out of doing a paper. Rather shameful, but true.

fshk said...

This is making me remember every instance of cheating in my academic career. I let the boy I had a crush on cheat off me in my 8th grade science class. I programmed every formula for trig, calc, and physics into my school-issued graphing calculator, then diligently erased everything at the end of the school year. And, because honors students are the worst procrastinators you will ever meet, I routinely wrote papers for my 12th grade English class during lunch the period before the paper was due. (Remember the time before students had to write papers on computers? It'd be harder to pull that off now. And... I'm dating myself a little.)

Most egregious examples of the above: In 10th grade history, we had to hand in answers to questions almost every class. So, a group of us started rotating who would do the assignment, then we'd all show up for class early and everyone would copy the homework-doer's work while the teacher sat at his desk. Often, he was chatting with someone or reading a book and not paying attention to us. No one ever got caught.

We got a replacement physics teacher when I was in 12th grade (long story about the first teacher) and the replacement was this old man who'd had a stroke that they brought out of retirement. He was an okay teacher and a very nice man, but he could barely walk. And I'm ashamed to admit I took advantage of the situation. Since all of our books had to be covered in brown paper bags, I wrote out all the formulas on the cover and would place it next to my desk during exams, then glance down when I needed to.

And I cut my college Shakespeare class. Often. This makes me a bad English major.

Griffin said...

So architectural history classes are taught by Art History professors, not Architecture professors. I had a test that was largely essay coming up at the same time I had a major project due in Design Studio (which kept me up two nights straight) and I didn't really study.

I realize that there are 200 people in my arch history class. I scribble illegibly for 95% of the essay, inserting words that would be appropriate for the essay. Or at least ones I thought would be.

For an exame that was 95% writing-like scribbles, I got a B-.

Anonymous said...


The worst thing I ever did was just a year ago in a college English Lit course (my BA). I came to class totally uprepared but got a wild hair and decided to lead the discussion anyway, even though I had not read but the first two chapters of the play (Six characters in Search of an Author.) Poetic justice demands that I make an absolute ass of myself in such a situation, but alas, I was brilliant. The professor never caught on, I left my classmates in the dust, and my successfull BS only served to egg me on through the entire hour and a half.

When class was over, I found myself coming down off my egotistic high and really felt ashamed, but not enough shame to admit my shittiness to the professor (whom I really adored in spite of what my actions may have intimated). I've never done anything before or since so bogus, but frankly I deserved a swift kick in the ass for my behavior.

Even if I don't win, it sure feels good to confess!!

Lins said...

My biggest misconducts were in high school where because of nice teachers who liked me I was able to get away with it.

For Grade 11 history we had to write a paper including chapter summaries on a book called The Source, I was already 2 days late and not finished and I wasn't going to be finished by the next day. So I came up with the plan of printing out most of what I had done leaving the last page ending in mid sentence with no further pages. I handed this in and then a week later when I was finished approached the teacher and mentioned that I had found part of my paper in my locker and thought I might have only handed in only half of my paper the week before. He accepted it and I got an A++.

In Grade 12 english I also wrote a paper comparing David Copperfield and Pip from Great Expectations without having finished David Copperfield or read Great Expectations at all and using quotes completely out of context which I found on various websites. I also got an A on that, which of course only fed my bad habits.

Alex said...

1. Congratulations!
2. I rarely attended my grade 12 English class, and almost never stayed awake in it when I did attend. Near the end of the year I managed to catch about 15 minutes of the movie edition of Joyce's The Dead, in which I sleepily gathered that some guy was being accused of being too British. The muzziness of my late night overcame me and I knew nothing more of it until the final exam, on which there was one paragraph of text from the novel and a question involving textual proof of a character's motivation. The paragraph in question was from near the end of The Dead, when unnamed-in-paragraph main character decides at long last to go into the west to find his true self.

I had to call over the invigilator to find out what the main character's name was (It's Gabriel, incidentally. She told me it was an angel, and initially I guessed Raphael. Who is an artist. From the Renaissance). Covering for that, I used the text from the first sheet to prove conclusively that he was going into the west to get closer to Britain. Indeed, I apparently quite flawlessly proved that, from a purely textual point of view, Britain is west of Ireland. Directly west of Ireland. My English teacher at the time was from Chelsea, England, and she gave me 88% on my final paper, because apparently as essays go it was a very good one, and I had indeed used the text to reinforce my thesis. Which remains geographically impossible to this day.

So I once proved to an Englishwoman that England is west of Ireland. And she kept the paper, to boot.

SB said...

Mine is kind of sad, actually.

I had what amounts to a serious meltdown my senior year, and although I struggled through my last semester, I put off my senior essay until the summer after I 'graduated'. With instructors' permission, of course, since I struck them as quite morosely nutso.

Well, it's been three years since the thing was assigned. I've been dragging myself out of a true Slough of Despond, but I felt happy to finally kick the thing together and drop-kick it out the door this past fall.

Until today. Because today the DUS wrote me back, saying that he doubts I can get credit for something that took me this long to complete. And with that, I'm back to being "almost" done with college - working retail, B.A.-less, and trying to convince myself that I'm not just wasting oxygen by waking up every day.

But, on a positive note, I love your blog!

see previous said...

P.S. The DUS has a point, natch. Most of my melancholy stems from not knowing what to do next. Perhaps reread "Bleak House"? I can cuss out Esther to my heart's content ...

Rebecca said...

Congrats on the award! It is well-deserved :)

This isn't so much a tale of academic misconduct as it is a case of academic mischief:

In the first year of my master's program, we were required to take an Introduction to Information Technology (aka Computers 101) course. I'd been working as a computer administrator at my local library for over two years, and I had been a computer lab advisor during the last year of my undergrad, so I was pretty good with computers.

After the first lecture, I went to the advisor and begged her to give me some kind of dispensation to get out of the course. We had spent the first three hours talking about how to turn a computer on, what a monitor was, and how to create a document in word processing software - all things I was very familiar with and had, in fact, taught others how to do. Unfortunately, she couldn't do anything about it, and I was stuck.

During the lab portion of the class, while the prof was explaining how to use a mouse (seriously - it was that basic a course!) I started playing with the settings on the computer, and somehow figured out how to send messages over the computer network. Since we were all logged into our computers with our user names, I knew where everyone was sitting and what computer they were on.

I logged out and logged in with a generic log-in name. Then I sent a message to someone on the other side of the room - it read, "Error: Illegal account activity. Please log out and log back in." The recipient flipped out in the middle of the lecture, and called the prof over. The prof was puzzled, made the recipient log out, and went back to the lecture.

Now, I'm not a naturally evil person, but I was bored beyond tears since all of this was old news to me. I waited ten minutes and did it again. This time the prof was agitated because he'd never had that happen before. (I should mention that this was a brand-spanking new prof - this was the first course he'd ever taught and we were the first students to have him. He ended up being a really nice guy, but boy howdy, did we give him a rough time.)

Unable to contain myself, I did it a third time, but to someone on the computers outside the lab. By now, he was sweating profusely, and muttering something about calling the IT department.

Unfortunately, he caught on when he turned around and saw me and the guy sitting next to me snickering. Three weeks later, I was informed that I would no longer have to take the midterm or final exam, didn't have to do the same final project as everyone else, and that I would now be the TA in the computer labs. The prof was actually quite relieved to have an assistant, and it earned me the title of alpha geek in my class. Which, if you're a librarian-in-training, is a pretty cool title :)

TabloidMan said...

I know I've already posted a few academic misconducts on here, but man--in the past day, I remembered several more and I just have to get them off my chest. I'm a horrible student. The fact I have so many only reinforces this truth.

In Grade 6 we had the dreaded spelling tests. Now, I don't know why I hated them so much, because I was a pretty good student in sixth grade, especially when it came to Language Arts, but I think it came down to the fact that I saw the spelling tests as lame and pointless and ultimately a waste of my time. However, the way the tests operated was this: every Monday, the teacher would give us the "pre-test" of 20 regular words and 5 challenge words. If you got all 25 words correct in the pre-test, the teacher would verify your work and you got out of having to take the real test on Friday. In fact, during the Friday's test, all the smart kids that aced the pre-test got to go out in the hall and play board games like Payday and The Game of Life. I envied them. I wanted to be with them. They were cool. So I soon devised a system in which I would get to be one of these golden sons and daughters of Language Arts: every Monday, during the pre-test, I would carefully write out my words with large spaces between the letters. Then, when the teacher read out the correct spelling, any missing letters I would judiciously add in the large space, and make it look like I'd realized--during the test itself--that I'd initially spelled the word wrong but corrected it on my own. Then afterwards, I would raise my hand and have my teacher verify that indeed, I had spelled all 25 words correctly. And then, next Friday, I would go out into the hallway and play Payday or the Game of Life with the smart, cool kids... my peers.

Moving along to my fourth year of university, I had to take an English survey course for my major because my university decided to change most of the requirements for an English degree, and if a pre-existing English major was able to take it, they had no excuse and wouldn't get credits otherwise. However, most of the course was material I'd already covered in greater depth in the senior English courses, so I didn't care much for the class and skipped it regularly, knowing that the prof already loved me and it would take a cataclysm to change it (she and four other English professors, all women, would fawn over me like mothers--one time they even pooled money and brought me out grocery shopping when my poor student ways began to starve me!). One day I wandered into class and discovered that, oh--lo and behold!--it was the midterm! Frantic, I creaked open my massive Norton Anthology, Volume 2, and skimmed all the Romantic and Victorian poetry listed on the syllabus, my head pounding. I then took the test--and almost every question on it was based on the bit of each poem I had actually paid attention to, even the question that no one in the class got right save me. Nine-five percent, baby! Later on that semester, we had our final ten-page paper. I didn't feel like doing it, and so just... didn't. A week passed, then another. Then another. Finally, after a month, just before final exams, the prof came up to me and said she was marking the papers, but couldn't seem to find mine, and was wondering if I'd handed one in? I said, quite calmly, that no, I hadn't; that I was, in fact, still working on it and expected to have it to her by the next day. She said that would be excellent, and even asked if I would help hand out exam booklets to her first-year English class the next morning, and offered to let me finish writing my paper on her office computer while she invigilated the exam. Oh, and that she'd pay me five dollars to do so. I jovially agreed, and went home--to instantly try to wrack my brain to think of a topic I could write on. I knew it had to be good, since the paper was a month late and could, technically, get a zero. So I knew the topic would have to be something that would appeal to the prof's tastes and be something that she couldn't possibly fail. I knew from previous courses with her that she was a raging feminist, and literally hung on every word that Virgina Woolf ever wrote. I, on the other hand, loathed Woolf and avoided reading her every chance I got. However, it was time for the big guns: that night, I found myself a Virginia Woolf short story, identified a blazingly feminist theme about male oppression of women and how it can drive them batty in the patriarchal world (or something along those lines), found all kinds of pseudo-academic evidence to back it up, and wrote half the paper before going to sleep in a daze. The next morning, I got up, took my notes, went to school, passed out the exams, went up to her office, and finished the paper while listening to gentle classical music she'd turned on for me and eating cashews from her nut bowl that she'd set out for me. I finished the paper, edited it, printed it out using the English Department's printing account, and handed it to her when she came back from the exam--just as she handed me five dollars. A week later, the paper was waiting for me. Written on it? "A++! An excellent exploration into the themes and ideals of Virgina Woolf in this story! Great job! Isn't Woolf just amazing to read? I'm always excited to read student's interpretations on her work, and yours was top-notch!" So, I basically went a month without doing a paper, and got full marks for it and paid five dollars.

Finally (and I do actually mean finally!), there was Psychology of Adult Development in my third year. The professor was a total flake, and the course was a joke. We had several assignments, two of which were a personal history analyzing our development up to the current day (which she would also use to get to know the class as "individuals") and a 20-page paper we would have to present to the class. I wrote my "get-to-know-you" assignment quite frank, including mention of my epilepsy and how it had affected my life, and so on and so forth. That was well received, with her even writing a comment on the page about how it must be difficult to have to deal with a chronic disorder such as epilepsy every day of my life (even though at that point it was completely under control and it had been years since I'd actually had a seizure--though I hadn't included that in the assignment). Anyway, I quickly grew disenchanted with the course and only went to get the participation mark, but didn't pay much attention to the syllabus until the day the professor announced, looking directly at me, "And next class, you'll be presenting on Adult Friendships, won't you?" Suddenly feeling my entire world shrink in around me, knowing I hadn't done a whit of research for a 20-page paper on a scientific topic I had to present on for half an hour in two days, all I could force out was a mildly pleasant, "Of... course...." As I left the class that day, I was in a fugue state, not knowing how the hell I was going to pull that one off. I spent all night frantically trying to track down research material in the library, but only finding the most basic books and journals--and I still had to read them all! The truth dawned on me like a sunrise in hell--there was no way I was going to get that paper and presentation prepared in time for next class. So I knew that there was only one thing left to do--lie like hell and pray that the teacher's naivete and goodwill towards me would be enough. On the course syllabus, the prof had included her home number, only to be used for emergencies, but in my mind, this was an emergency. Dialing up the number, I made my voice sound as sick as I could, and when the prof answered, I identified myself, and then said, "I'm just calling cuz I want to ask if I can get an extension on my presentation for tomorrow? I just had an epileptic seizure today and it's left me pretty drained and I'm not sure I'll be up to finishing up the paper or speaking in front of the class tomorrow...." At this news the prof--who assured me that she most certainly remembered my struggles with epilepsy from my get-to-know-you paper--grew very sympathetic and said that of course I could have an extension! She then asked me how long I thought I needed? I wasn't quite sure how far I could push it, so I said, "Well, I'm not quite sure...", to which she replied, "Will three weeks be enough time? Or I can push it back to four if you think that will help you out more?" Stunned by this--I expected an extra class or two--I stuttered back, "No... no, three should be fine...." It turns out that I got the extra time not only because of my seizure, but because the girl who was supposed to present on a different aspect of the same topic as me had just been diagnosed with mono and also couldn't present the next day, so the prof decided that it would be best to just keep us together. Hey, I had no complaints--it still saved my ass, and my lie? Well, I got away with it. And got fawned over even more by the prof because of it.

What can I say? Professors love me. I have like, a +9 Charisma bonus.

Rachel said...

in 8th grade, I was put in charge of grading the spelling homework for my English class. This was probably due to my nerdily perfect GPA and the fact that I was in the county spelling bee three years running. Ugh.

I discovered that our teacher never double-checked what I put on the grade sheet and so, for the low low price of whatever your lunch money was that day, you could get an "A" on your spelling homework. Or a "B" if I didn't like you.

I kept a lot of football players and wrestlers on their respective teams that year, and I made a shitload of money as well.

Anonymous said...

Mine is more sad than funny. In elementary school, we used to have these terrible, horrible things called "racing tests" where we would have about 3 minutes to complete a page of addition and subtraction problems. They were your standard 2+2=4 problems. I guess the goal of the racing tests was to make us memorize simple math problems.

At the tender age of 6, however, I had already started suffering from a sort of math anxiety and when I'd hear the egg timer start clicking down I'd freeze up and not be able to remember what addition was, much less the answer to 3 plus 6. Usually at the last 30 seconds I'd break out of my trance and write down any old answer, just to have the spaces filled in. Of course, I got mostly Ds and Fs on these tests.

My parents were astounded; after all, I had been pretty successful in school up until this time and in fact, been moved a grade up for reading and spelling. Being 6 and all, I had no way of telling that I got anxious, I just said I couldn't do it. And the great teachers in my school didn't notice that I sat there paralyzed for the first 2 and a half minutes of the racing tests.

Finally, I was threatened with remedial math if I did not score better on these test. I was terrified, because I was an anxious child and because I really didn't understand what remedial meant, just that it was bad.

So I created a cheat sheet, but because I was a first grader and my handwriting was all over the place, my crib sheet was the size of a normal piece of paper. I didn't even know I had to hide it, so I just sat it on my desk. My teacher walked over and picked it up as I burst into tears, my parents were called, I was sent to the principal's office. The end result of all of this was that my mother insisted that I be exempt from the racing test, because obviously I was too "intense" for them. And I stayed in regular 1st grade math.

Until 3rd grade, when I was totally confounded by division for most of the year.

Tobias said...

I've never outright cheated, but damn have I played fast and loose with the rules (Lying about whether an assignment is turned in or not is not cheating, of course).

In my sophomore Honors English class, I was supposed to have read The Killer Angels by such and such a date, with summaries of every three chapters, short bios of any new characters, and so on, so that the teacher knew I'd read the book before we started discussing it.

I finished six chapters, fit onto one sheet of paper, handwritten in my crappy, crappy boy handwriting, and handed it in, because this teacher was "if it's one day late, half credit; if it's two days late, tough shit."

Right before the end of the semester, she lets us see our grades. I have a D. The teacher says I haven't turned in the Killer Angels summaries. I point out that I did, indeed, turn in the most hald-assed work I've ever done in my life. She points out that it amounts to the same thing. I have a week to turn it in.

Now, I'm figuring that I'll be blessed to get enough credit from this to get a C even if it's the most stellar thing in the world. It wind up being quite a few sheets of paper, still for some reason handwritten, but CAREFULLY handwritten (which takes quite some time).

I pull a high B in the course. Given how I did on some other assignments the same semester, that means I must have gotten nearly full credit on the summaries. I didn't discover until later how much that teacher loved me, but that was my first clue.

Since getting to college, most of my academic shenanigans involve not writing papers until the night before, or the morning of, the due date. Like right now, when I have a Philosophy paper due tomorrow morning at 9:30 that I haven't started.

But there's also the time that I started skipping Physics occasionally because it was a repeat of my high school Physics, and then I stopped turning in my homework because the other people in my group all commuted to school so we worked over IMs and my computer had died and I was too lazy to fix it until I went home a month and a half later, and then I started only going to one of the four classes a week, and then after the third exaxm, I didn't attend class until the final (and that's where the ONLY material I never covered in high school showed up). The final that was in the normal classroom, as opposed to the room in another building entirely that we had taken our exams in. I went to the exam room, not having been in class to find out that the final was not going to be held there.

Thankfully, the room was PACKED with students I didn't recognize, cluing me in to the final's NOT THERE-ness. I check the normal classroom, and my classmates are there. I get a seat within a minute of the final, and I somehow get a B in the class, even with my written response of "I'll be honest, I haven't the first clue how to do this one."

Susie R said...

I live in England, so it's really best that I'm not all that academically evil.

My favourite rebellious act in High School wasn't to do with exam papers and such, but it was in the school building, so hey.

There was this really terrible painting hanging in one of the stairwells going up to the English department. I had to see it every other day, it was the ugliest effing piece of art I have ever seen, I swear. It was about a foot square abstract art thing: nasty shade of green, it looked like abstract industrial snot. I think a former pupil or art teacher had done it, the school didn't actually pay money for it.

One day I could stand the assault on my artistic sensibilities no longer, worked out what time of day the stairwell was deserted, and nicked the thing. During the following fortnight I hid it in various places around the school: a little-used disabled toilet, under some stairs, a supply cupboard, even in a few more visible places around the school, with a friend looking out for me each time. Each time I did it I took a photo with my digital camera. The painting eventually ended up in the art department I think... After my few weeks I produced a poster of all the places this ghastly piece of work had been, with "Have You Seen This Painting?" as the caption, and stuck it up all around school.

People were generally confused or amused. I suppose it was a fairly lame thing to do, but I felt justified in my one-woman campaign against bad school art.

Tamra Thetford said...

In 11th grade i was dating Matt. Matt lived in a small city about 2 hours South of me. We would visit each other on the weekends once or twice a month. Due to a Southern holiday that their public schools got which we didn't, Matt was able to come up Thursday night and stay for a three-day weekend. The only problem was that i had school and wasn't the ditching type. I went to the administrator's office and asked permission for him to attend classes with me. I made up a lie that his family was thinking about moving to the district and it would be helpful for him to decide if he liked the school. The administrator said no in a very direct manner and excused me from his office.

I went to a big school and was all about defending my rights considering i walked the straight and narrow in other respects. So, i wrote a note that i took to each of my teachers. I had them sign the note giving permission to Matt to attend class with me. I told the teachers that the administrator had requested it. It now lives in my scrapbook and i can be sure that even my hijinks involved signed permission slips.

Crazy Chick said...

This isn't actually my story, so it's not an entry or anything, but I thought I'd share it because a.) it's funny and b.) I'll never forget it.

My freshman year in college, I was in a compulsory religion class with only people who lived in my dorm. One of the guys styled himself sort of a genius when really he was just an arrogant asshat, but the teacher (a priest) just adored him. The professor had assigned us one-page response papers due every Friday, and this guy decided that he would make his "one page" papers shorter and shorter each week to see if he would still maintain his good grade. And, each week, the final paragraph was inches away from the bottom of the page, and each week it came back with a big red "A" on it. Obviously, we were all furious, mostly because he was being such a cocky bastard about it. It all came to a head when he turned in the last paper (the question: "What is God?", like you only need a page for that) with a little "1" in the center---that's it! A footnote! And the footnote read: "No one can ever say what or who God is. God is unknowable." And he got an "A"! Flabbergasted. Appalled.

Coincidentally, he went on to date a girl I lived with junior year and I became even more convinced of his asshattery, but that's for another day.


Nancy Dardarian said...

I have two. Neither I am very proud of.

In my sophomore year of high school, my mother was dying of cancer, and in response I had become more and more defiant of authority. Mr. McDonald, the Biology teacher at Lincoln High School in San Francisco, gave me a D instead of an F out of pity, even though I had spent most of the semester chewing on the ends of paper matches and flicking them up onto the Biology lab ceiling, with their little match legs splayed and stuck.

Second, about that same time, I cut school to go off on a motorcycle with Bobby Connell, a super cool but super baddddd guy at school. My initial thrill at being out with him, wind blowing through my hair (this was 1969 in San Francisco, after all!) turned to horror when we were pulled over by the police. It turned out Bobby had knocked over some newspaper machines or something and had hundreds of dollars in coins on him when we were caught. I think the cops were so disgusted by my fear that they would tell my mom (yes, I played the "C" card) that they let me go with a lecture. But they kept Bobby, and I never hung out with him again.

Anonymous said...

I was trying to cheat on my geology when I got here. Obviously, I'll keep my school secret.