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Honestly about cheating: to whom and why?

Make cheat sheets, but don't use them!" This is a common saying among some professors. The idea behind it is that creating a good cheat sheet requires a lot of work and effort. During this process, you go through the material from start to finish, distinguish important information from unimportant, develop a logical structure, and plan the precise layout. However, the act of going through these steps already helps in learning, and later, you might not even need the cheat sheet.

Because making cheat sheets is considered a good learning strategy, using them is simply foolish. For example, in engineering studies, one wouldn't want to live in a house whose structural calculations were done by an engineer who chose to cheat instead of learning. Similarly, no one would want to have surgery performed by a doctor who isn't sure where a certain organ is because they cheated on the anatomy exam.

While these examples involve more complex and responsible fields where people's lives are at stake, the responsibility exists in all other fields as well. Chemists should know how different substances react, economists should invest to make a profit instead of a loss. This requires genuinely acquiring knowledge, not copying from others.

Although the examples mentioned make sense and are logical, there are also so-called "useless" knowledge. For instance, everyone has had to memorize a poem in language class. Let's be honest, at the moment, no one remembers the authors or titles of those poems. However, the purpose of learning those poems was not to remember them verbatim. Memorizing a poem aims to expand vocabulary, develop memory, create connections, and enhance the ability to deliver necessary information at the right moment. Additionally, reciting a poem from memory improves public speaking skills, pronunciation, and diction.

"Statistics show that every year, students' ability to formulate theorems, let alone prove them, decreases," said a mathematics professor recently after grading exams. On one hand, it can be argued that the average student is more self-aware and doesn't memorize things they won't need in life. However, proving theorems should not be memorized; they should be logically derived from the base of previously learned material. But if that base has been neglected, and instead cheating has been done, now there are only two options left: independently learn all the necessary material or continue cheating. It's a snowball effect that keeps growing. Every person has a choice: to grow their knowledge ball bigger and more powerful or play Jenga with poorly built blocks, hoping it won't collapse at the wrong moment.

Just like high school, university is actually voluntary. No one forces anyone to go and study. But once the decision has been made, and enrollment confirmed, the obligations taken must be fulfilled, and learning must happen. Perhaps high school was necessary to go to university and study something that doesn't require understanding all the subjects of the national curriculum. But in university, there are different fields, different directions. Just as aspiring conductors don't learn physics, IT specialists are not taught music. This means that all current students have made the decision to come and acquire knowledge in this specific field. So why cheat?

University is meant for acquiring knowledge and later applying it. But if a diploma is obtained through dishonest means, it's not surprising that the application of those missing skills will falter. While a degree may help land a desired job, lacking real skills will eventually come to light. Therefore, that paper is worthless, and the entire university time is wasted. The recommendation is, once the decision is made to continue one's education, then one should also study.

In addition to doing oneself a disservice by cheating, it is also unacceptable towards others. In the Technical University, there are a certain number of scholarships awarded only to the most diligent students. While extra money is always nice and serves as a good motivator to strive for better grades, raising grades through cheating may deprive someone who didn't cheat of that money. They may not reach the same level as the cheater, who actually lacks those skills. Moreover, instructors tend to determine students' levels based on the first tests and adjust the difficulty of subsequent tasks accordingly, requiring real effort to achieve a high grade. This makes it difficult not only for cheaters but also for honest students, and in the end, everyone is worse off. What's the point of cheating when the grade is achievable without it?

In the future, it's also wise to make smart financial decisions and live in a house that doesn't threaten to collapse. This means that current students need to take charge and start using their brain's potential. Today's decisions will affect life for many decades. To become a future top achiever, effort must be put in at this very moment.


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