I had my first bout with cheaters this past weekend. Kind of soured the weekend, even though I can’t take it personally. Cheating bothers the heck out of me. Besides the idea of people learning to learn and enjoying it, it just makes me uncomfortable to have that dishonesty.

Cheating is a really bad idea. In the best case scenario, you leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person grading you. They may not be inclined to bump your 59.45 to a 60% (and a D-), meaning you failed the course. In the worst case scenario, you face major consquences. If being an ethical, upright person isn’t enough of a reason to not cheat, the consequences of cheating listed in your academic handbook should scare you straight. You can get kicked out of school in some instances or fail a class. The latter situation damages your GPA and possibly puts you behind in class. You may also have to retake the class with the same professor, who may remember you as that person who cheated.

In the situation of getting kicked out, that is a doozy to overcome. Don’t rely on what your friends tell you, that the school doesn’t enforce the cheating policy. It’s like drunk driving. Many may get away with it and get lighter sentencing, but you may encounter the people who follow the books. In your eyes, it may be unfair that you’re the only person who was punished, while everyone got a slap on the wrist, but the law reads how it reads. My school has a 3 strikes policy. Strike one, you get warned and fail the assignment. Strike 2 (which can happen any year, with any class you take), you fail the class in which your second cheating occurrence happened. Strike 3, you’re out. You wasted a lot of money and time to walk away with nothing. You may have also ruined your chances of finishing a degree, at least for a long time.

In short, don’t cheat. Believe me, I didn’t enjoy talking to deans on what to do or failing these students. It really can hurt you in the end.