Monday, October 18, 2010

The Portrait of a Cheater

-Subtitled: A College Tale-

While some of you that know me personally may have initially thought of my past relationship when you read this title, it is actually referring to what secondary educational institutions call "academic dishonesty."

Today was my Art History's first exam of the year (of three-with no final), and I was feeling really up to it. I knew a majority of the material very well, I did all the readings, and knew the dates and eras of specific works were going to get confused in my head--but for the most part I'm pretty confident that I did very well. In between classes I had half an hour, so I did some very quick scanning through all my notes and the study guides, so that helped freshen everything up.

However, many people weren't so prepared for this exam; or as calm. One of these people happened to sit next to me. Dark brown hair, about a head shorter than me, shifty eyes, and a nervous tick.

Her knees were always bouncing, and she was constantly fidgeting. I know some people just get nervous during tests--especially when they're titled "exams"--so I didn't pay attention to her.

It wasn't until halfway through the test I realized that she seemed to be looking at my answers for practically every question. I kept hearing her eraser to change answers. Apparently, I fill in multiple-choice bubbles in a way that gives off an aura of confidence. I had no idea I even had an aura of confidence (dressed in everyday clothes, of course--pinstripes are my Superman-suit).

So, I started to write my answers, and cover them up with my pencil as the teacher showed slides of the artworks we had to identify and write about. After I started this tactic, the assumed "snoop" next to me periodically leaned back against the chair-back to make it look like she was stretching. It felt like she was looking for someone else to look off of?

After the last slides were shown, I finished the rest of the answers fairly easily and left the room early.

I hope for my sake and hers that I did very well for the first half of the test, and she didn't misread the bubbles. Or perhaps she was merely someone who was just really nervous, and my suspicious mind misread her body language.

Maybe a class like "Body Language 203" is one I should take next quarter to help distinguish the difference?

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