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Hey, do you want to be partners?

May 4, 2018

“You guys may work on this assignment with partners if you choose.”

Most people’s eyes light up and they get excited about finally being able to “work with,” ahem, socialize, with their friends during class. This is the time where you can talk — about school and other things — without the fear of getting yelled at and humiliated when the teacher hears even the softest of whispers.

But for me, this is one of the most disappointing things that could happen at school.

Being a straight A student and frequently being ahead in most classes has been good and bad for me. Getting on the honor roll with a 4.0 GPA every year and being able to say that my lowest grade throughout middle school has been a 93 percent (because what sixth grader actually cared about math? Sorry to all math teachers) have been high on my list of accomplishments. But this also makes me subject to being manipulated by peers.

When a teacher announces to the class that partners will be allowed on an assignment, I hear a lot of “Hey, do you want to be partners?” And my answer stays the same every time. No. I don’t say it because I’m cold-hearted or don’t want to help people. I say it because 85 percent of the time, whomever I work with expects me to do all of the work and just be okay putting both of our names on the work. I am not okay with that. Actually, I consider this cheating.

The National History Day project is a big deal for AT eighth graders. It can be done as an individual or a group project. Many people tried to persuade me into switching from an individual paper — which was my preference — to a group project.

From experience, however, I knew exactly how this would go. Everything would kick off to a great start. I would do this, my partner would do that, and everything would be pretty equal. But then, about halfway through, my partner would take my drive and concentration on the project for granted, and slowly stop working on the project altogether, leaving me to do the remaining 50 percent of the work and put both our names on the cover page.

Now you may be thinking, well that isn’t cheating, but it is. Cheating is “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination.” And in terms of my experiences, the advantage for the other person is always the A.

So here’s a little life lesson: don’t cheat. It’s not right, it’s not a good representation of your abilities, and it’s not cool. And for the most part, the answer to the question,, “Hey, do you want to be partners?” is a firm no,.

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