I Got Away With It

I+Got+Away+With+It

As she scribbled her name at the top of the scantron, junior Jessica James* took a deep breath. She needed a 70 on her final to keep her B in Honors PreCalc. Confident she would do fine, James simply studied her review packet the night before. She wasn’t worried.

“I was like, ‘I don’t need to study, I’ll get a 70 easy,’” James said. “And then I went and took it and while I was taking it, I knew I was doing bad.”

She went through her usual routine of circling the questions she knew she’d have to guess on. After counting them up, she estimated she would get about a 60 on the test — not high enough.

“I was like, ‘I can’t get a C in the class because it would ruin my GPA’ so I was freaking out,” James said. “I spent an hour trying to figure out how to cheat instead of actually taking the test.”

She couldn’t decide whether she should try her best and get a bad grade or cheat and risk getting a zero. James decided to take her chances.

“Everyone worked right to the bell so at the end there was a big shuffle of people turning everything in and getting their backpacks so I took the test, put it in my backpack and I just left.”

Walking out of class, James’ heart was racing. She looked around cautiously, nervous that one of her classmates saw her take it. She sat through her next two classes and tried to avoid opening her backpack, fearing someone would see the test inside.

“My plan was to take it home and finish it and then come back the next day. I had it fourth hour and I was going to put it in the fifth hour tray and when she couldn’t find it she’d be like, ‘Oh, I’ll go look in the other hours.’”

James had a fifth hour, but couldn’t focus on studying. She looked up, and saw her PreCalc teacher. Her heart stopped.

“I thought I was done,” James said. “I thought she caught me and I was so scared. I was about to cry.”

James was called into the hallway where her teacher told her she couldn’t find the test. When James apologized and offered to retake the test, her teacher responded by telling her she would give her the grade to keep a B in the class, as long as James didn’t tell anybody.

“I just don’t feel bad about it. I felt like I worked hard for the grade and getting a C in a class and ruining my GPA, even though I actually tried, wouldn’t be fair,” James said. “I felt like the adrenaline is what made me bold enough to do it. I don’t regret it. It was worth it to keep my B.”