Enabling Reinvention

Why Cheating Hurts

by Robert Wood, Social Media Advisor – Prison Scholar Fund

Cheating in school, and in life, hurts the cheaters more than anyone else. In addition to sacrificing your integrity, you rob yourself of the chance for lasting learning. The way your brain works is amazing, it’s called cognitive function. One of the things the human mind does when you actually study hard enough to remember material for testing purposes, it creates deeper neuropath ways for the information you’re studying causing you to retain it long term. That’s one of the reasons we still remember our alphabets and our multiplication tables years, even decades later. When you read over the material once, put together a cheat sheet, and then say you know it, that opportunity to create deeper neuropath ways for the information doesn’t exist. Picture a knife carving a small groove into a piece of wood. The more times you carve the deeper that groove becomes. This is how your mind works. The deeper the groove is the easier it is to find it. With information stored in your memory it’s the same concept. The more times you read it the deeper the neuropath way for it becomes.

I’ve seen people who cheat on a particularly difficult subject and say, “I’ll hire someone to perform that function for me once I get rich so it doesn’t matter anyway.” You have to remember that in any business if you don’t know what you’re doing or what’s being done for you, you cannot adequately monitor the situation. To properly understand everything you learn, and academic integrity assures you understand your strengths and weaknesses in your discipline of choice or in any of the courses you take. This is accomplished through the use of test results as a metric, a measure of what you know and don’t know. Even in the courses you may view as unimportant, there are a great many things you can learn, as well as increase your diversity of knowledge. Please, if you think of cheating, think of how much you love the person you’re depriving of the opportunity for deep lasting learning. That person is you. Don’t compromise your integrity or your educational opportunities. Take education serious. You’ll learn more and have better, and more applicable skills along with increased opportunities moving forward.


Robert Wood, our Social Media Advisor, is a volunteer for the PSF. His Tweets can be found on Twitter, @prisonscholars, account under the hashtag #RLW_PSF. He can be reached via any of our social media outlets or emailed at the following address: rlw@prisonscholars.org. Please feel free to Tweet us with your feedback and your opinion on this subject. We welcome you into the conversation.

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