One of my fraternity brothers cheated his way through college. Truth be told, it was the least of his transgressions – had he not been perhaps the school’s greatest wrestler to date, his fighting, belligerence towards campus security and other drunken misdeeds might’ve gotten him kicked out long before graduation. In moments of clearheaded sobriety, though, he worked on various schemes to game the academic system.
I spent the next couple of decades looking back on that year with regret and anger. First I was ashamed that I hadn’t been fully engaged. Then I gradually realized that to the extent that I wasn’t an active participant, that reflected poorly on him as well. He didn’t teach to the entirety of the class, just to the select few who fit his preferred student profile. I concluded that he did many of us a disservice and despite being very smart he was actually a poor teacher.