Caught in a Cheating Crossfire

Caught in a Cheating Crossfire

Catching someone cheating isn't easy. It's worse when it's a good friend.

I’m a first-year medical student, having worked hard to get into medical school. Obviously.

I am truly excited to be here and eager to learn.

During one of our exams, I noticed that my classmate, John (names have been changed to protect the people involved), was copying my answers.

I saw him looking at my paper and then write down what appeared to be the same answers I had written down.

He did this repeatedly, even though I looked over at him sternly to try and dissuade him.

I was shocked and didn’t know what to do.

Maybe many of you have had it happen, too, but I don’t know anyone I can confide in.

I don’t want to cause any trouble, but at the same time, I felt like I, myself, am being cheated.

I decided not to say anything and let it go for a while. But it hasn’t been easy.

I’m struggling with my decision to keep quiet.



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On the one hand, I don’t want to be a snitch or cause drama.

On the other, I feel like I am being taken advantage of, and that just isn’t fair.

As time has passed, I’m starting to feel more and more guilty about not speaking up.

We all know that cheating is wrong, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

But at the same time, I don’t want to be the one who gets John in trouble. He’s been a friend to me, especially in other parts of my life. Telling on him would surely mean losing him.

I started to think about the pluses and minuses of the situation.

On the one hand, if I speak up, John will get what he deserves. Who cheats on a medical exam? But he’ll possibly get kicked out.

That doesn’t sit well with me, since he’s worked hard to be here, too. We all make mistakes, after all.

On the other hand, if I keep quiet, I won’t have to deal with any drama, or the consequences of my “telling”. Ther won’t be backlash of any kind.

I’m still struggling with what to do.

It feels good to share my experience here, so I appreciate this outlet. I know many medical attendings follow this page and I’d love to get some more “adult”, or experienced advice.

Should I speak up and report John’s cheating? Or should I keep quiet and hope he doesn’t do it again?

Either way, I appreciate getting published anonymously. Obviously there are sensitive issues involved here, and I’d like to keep things safe.

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One Response

  1. The first step is to directly talk to “John”- have you done that? That conversation will be uncomfortable and hard, but it’s unlikely to be the last of its nature during your career. Today it’s cheating on an exam; tomorrow it may be a work partner abusing medications or committing insurance fraud. Draw your personal line now (as you tried to do with the discouraging stern looks) but always start with a frank conversation directly with the person involved.

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