Everything you need to know

Dear Joe,

I was in the middle of taking an exam, and found someone cheating. If it were regular cheating, I probably would have reported it. This time, however, was some of the most brilliant cheating I have ever seen. The student walked into class with a sandwich. During the test, he would simply lift the top slice of bread to look at his cheat sheet. This method obviously took some time to think up. Should I report the student, even though it was creative?

—Sandwiched in-decision

Dear Sandwiched,

Think of all the prison break movies you’ve seen in your life. Now think about how they would be ruined if someone ratted out the escapee 10 minutes into the film. Creative cheating (or escaping) is something that’s hard not to be impressed with. It takes talent and guts.

Reporting someone for creative cheating almost seems like reporting Einstein for breaking Newton’s laws of mechanics. Yet in the midst of our admiration for this fascinating pastime, we seem to forget one thing: They’re still cheating. No matter how small they write. No matter how far they sit in the back of the classroom. No matter how they invented a new communication system involving eraser shavings. Cheaters make our classes much harder, due to unnecessary grade inflation. If you’re not so impressed with cheaters anymore, it seems that reporting this student isn’t such a bad idea.

On the other hand, if you are still impressed with the art of cheating, think about how you are stifling the creative process by not reporting the student. As clever as his methods were, they still technically failed, since you saw them. Reporting the student would send him back to the drawing board to think of newer and more advanced methods of avoiding how to learn. In either case, everybody benefits when cheaters are reported. Also, a sandwich is a terrible thing to waste.

With pepperoni and extra onions,

Dear Joe,

I’m bored. There’s nothing to do on this campus. Pittsburgh is such a lame city. I feel as if I’m just wasting my life doing nothing around campus. Any suggestions for a fun time?

—Ennui in E Tower

Dear Ennui,

This is the strangest complaint I have ever heard of. First off, you’re telling me that you have time to go out and have a fun time. Don’t you have work to do? If not, then somehow you happened to pick classes that don’t involve a great deal of work. Please send me another e-mail with details.

Next, Carnegie Mellon offers a surprising number of activities on campus. Take a walk in our number garden, play a game of racquetball in one of our four courts. Eat out at one of Craig Street’s multiple restaurants. We may as well call our college Carnegie Mellon Resorts. The main problem is just finding another willing person to take advantage of all that our fine school has to offer.

Also, it appears that you know very little about Pittsburgh. Even outside the bar scene (which is wonderful and inexpensive), Pittsburgh has a never-ending supply of fun things to do. Right outside of campus are the Carnegie museums and the Phipps Conservatory. Walk a little farther and you have Bloomfield with its incredible Italian grocery markets.

Finally, try picking up a useless hobby to beat the doldrums. Start playing bridge, do the crossword, or build model airplanes. Remember, life is a blast, but you just have to ignite the wick first.

Try something new!