Confessions of a Reformed Chain Cheater

Statistics show that “80% of ‘high-achieving’ high school students admit to cheating, 51% of high school students did not believe cheating was wrong, 95% of cheating high school students said that they had not been detected.” Let’s be honest, cheating has not been much of a big deal to some people for a very long time.

Growing up in an environment where ‘honesty is the best policy’ is only one of the thousands of sayings adults use to prevent kids from committing any acts of dishonesty, I can conclude that simply telling kids not to tell lies is highly ineffective.

Hi, I’m Thea Zabala, and I am now a reformed chain cheater.

The first time I ever cheated on a final exam was during my freshman year in high school. I was a highly grade-conscious student who had a very difficult time acquiring a foreign language which, if I don’t end up acing, would leave a terrible mark on my report card.

Justifying myself with the thought, “everyone else is doing it and my teacher doesn’t seem to mind,” I shamelessly copied the answers to the entire exam from my seatmate (which she also acquired from her seatmate).

At first, I felt incredibly guilty and spent sleepless nights wondering if I would get in trouble for it or not and surprisingly, everyone got away with it just fine. From sharing my answers to those in “need” and checking my handouts/notes during quizzes, cheating on that subject became a horrid habit of mine.

Eventually, the guilt drifted away and I no longer felt bad for cheating repeatedly. However, I became so addicted to it that even in times when I was a hundred percent sure of my answers, I would still check my notes just to be completely certain.

Several months ago, however, I finally listened to the Lord, and put a complete stop to the said crime. However, it was only recently when the Lord truly convicted me and made me realize how terrible my actions have been.

Recently, an incredibly close friend of mine knew about my passion for writing and so, she asked for my assistance in writing an article for a certain organization. Because I thought it would not be a big deal, I ended up writing the entire article for her, and I gave her permission to tell everyone that she wrote it. So yes, I basically gave her permission to plagiarize my work.

I felt a sense of pride within me because I thought that I accomplished writing an entire article about something which I never even experienced. Little did I know that what I thought was completely the opposite of what it really was, a completely believable lie which led people to believe in something which wasn’t really true.

When the article was published, my friend was praised for the said article, and saying that I felt a pang of anger within me would be an understatement. I felt the feeling people whose works get plagiarized must feel all the time. I suffered the fury some people who let others copy their answers to a homework/quiz/exam must experience, even though oftentimes, they suppress it. I felt absolutely wronged.

I confronted my friend about it but it is only now that I fully perceive how she was not at fault. I was the one who willingly wrote the article and she had full permission from me to take the credit. I never actually grasped the fact that writing that article just showed how big of a liar I already have become, until now.

My experience might not be a big deal as compared to other people’s stories. However, it marked an ineradicable lesson within me.

Cheating may be as little as copying off someone’s Geometry homework (which I’m guilty of committing) or as big as corrupting the money entrusted upon you. Either way, it’s completely and utterly wrong.

Do you know why cheating is a big deal? It’s a ginormous deal because when you cheat, you lose the entire point of why you are being tasked to do whatever it is that you are doing.

Do you actually think that you got ahead because you aced an exam you didn’t study for? You didn’t because the person whom you cheated from will benefit from the things he/she learned 10-20 years from now while you, on the other hand, will remain as stupid as you were before you copied from him/her.

Do you really believe that you fooled your teachers and your parents into believing you’ve become a better student or a better person? Think again. You fooled no one else but yourself because the achievements you “acquired” and “accomplished” do not really belong to you, you stole them from a person who uses his/her brain.

When the time comes and life decides to throw you a test which you cannot cheat on, how can you possibly survive it? If you’re already cheating on a simple challenge given to you in school or wherever, how, then, can you possibly handle bigger challenges to be given to you in the future?

I now end with one of the bible verses that struck me while I was in the midst of reforming my former habits,

“10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

Luke 16:10-11

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