I’ll be honest, I’ve cheated a lot in school, but there’s one time I cheated in the 7th grade that I remember more vividly than most. I remember this time so well not because I was caught, but rather, because I got away with it and it taught me that people trust what I have to say and will actually listen to me.
A lot of my cheating roots back to the fact that all my life it seemed as though everyone else read, but as a kid I never really got into it. I just didn’t seem to enjoy it. I never really tell anyone this because it’s slightly embarrassing. Having never actually read a book throughout most of your life is a little humiliating because it seems to come so natural to other people. And since I never got into it, I constantly avoided it throughout middle school even into high school.
In classes, I would just skim books, look up book summaries online, or when worst came to worst, I would find a way to cheat. I made up countless book reports because I didn’t bother to read the book. This may have been cheating, but it forced me to be more creative.
I vividly remember the time in 7th grade that I didn’t read a single page of a book that I was supposed to. Everyone in the class chose their own book to read, had a few weeks to read it, and then would have to present it to the entire class. This was more of background project that was going on while we worked on other things. This book project had completely slipped my mind—but in all honestly, I had no intentions of ever reading the book. One day I walked into the class and was quickly reminded that it was presentation day.
Luckily, I wasn’t the first person to go up. While others were presenting, I was reading the back of the book to get some background information and learning character names. When I went up to present the report of my book, I made up the entire thing. I made up the entire story line because I figured no one else had read it before; I even threw in oddly specific parts of the book (again, that I made up) that I claimed I enjoyed the most.
If my teacher had read this book I would have been screwed, but she hadn’t and neither did anyone else in my class. In fact, my teacher was thoroughly impressed and I got a 100% on the project. This didn’t show me that cheating or faking is acceptable, it taught me to be inventive.
After giving that presentation, having my class give me a round of applause, proceed to ask me questions (that I continued to make up answers to), and then receive an A on the project, it taught me that we inherently trust one another. I didn’t view this as a means to take advantage of that trust, but rather it showed me that people will listen to what I have to say even if it’s entirely bullshit.
So if I want to be heard and make a difference, then I better have something damn good to say.