I just finished with a test in one of my classes. I think I did pretty well, but so did the guy sitting next to me. I tried to cover my paper but I think he still managed to get some answers from me. The weird thing is he has been trying to befriend me since the beginning of the semester. He seems pretty nice but I’m wondering if he is paying attention to me because he wants me to help him cheat. He has never asked me to study with him or to go over homework. I feel as if he’s just using me to get better grades. What should I do?
I don’t blame you for being upset. There were a few instances in college that I wondered about regarding a “new” friend who wanted to sit by me in class. Test time was especially interesting. I knew that she was looking over my paper; wanting me to show her the answers and compare them with the ones she’d written down. It really bothered me. She never spoke up to say, “Let’s cheat,” but I always felt it beneath the surface of her being nice to me.
I never spoke up about it. I tried sitting in another area of class for tests but she would follow me and sit down next to me. It was interesting too, that when we did projects and she opted to be in my group, I always felt as if she did as little as possible, hoping that others in the group would pick up her slack.
It’s really difficult when you’re in college to speak up when someone is trying to cheat off you, especially when you want to be a friend to everyone and don’t want to be looked on as some sort of “prude.” But I think it’s important to be daring enough to speak up.
If I’d had the guts I would have gone to this girl and had a visit with her. I would have told her of my concerns, what I thought she was doing, and ask her to stop. I would have given her a chance to make amends. If I found that she was cheating off me a second time I would have talked to the instructor. This is a difficult one because once you have talked to the student; they will probably know it was you who told the teacher. But I also think that most people will respect your decision and choose not to sit by you anymore. They will no longer want to cheat off you because of the way you feel. They may not be your friend either, but perhaps that’s okay too—a real friend is honest with you anyway.
If you decide to talk to the instructor and not give the guy another chance, do it as soon as possible. Let the teacher know that you believe “so and so” is copying from you during test time and that you’re not quite sure what to do about it. Get some feedback. You will definitely get help from your teacher, help that won’t pinpoint you as the person who “squealed.”
Do you have a question for Mom? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org