Last month I was caught carrying some cheat sheets during an engineering semester examination, not because I was afraid of failing but because I was afraid of forgetting a few key formulae and definitions. In hindsight, it was really really stupid idea on my part and I certainly believe that I should face the standard punishment. The incident has been reported and I'm almost sure that all the six examination papers I appeared in the semester will be cancelled; I will have to retake the exams next year again but that isn't the biggest of my worries as I think I will be able to pass them all if I keep revising in upcoming months.

What I'm truly concerned about is that I let down my professors who considered me to be a fairly good student who used to more or less actively participate in the classes, and I expect them to be very disappointed in me. When I ponder on this, I myself feel so ashamed of myself that I've had several severe anxiety attacks and nightmares (almost every day) since that incident occurred; I'm currently on medication for anxiety and depression (not complaining; I totally brought this upon myself and I deserve the consequences). Anyway, it's still summer vacation for us and I will likely be called by the department's disciplinary council for a hearing in the next month, and then soon after the classes for the next semester will begin, most of which will be conducted by the same professors we had previously. I do not think anything I say at this point will improve their impression of me, and really I do not want to sound like a manipulative person. Moreover, I believe actions speak louder than words.

Nevertheless, what would be a good way to conduct myself during the disciplinary meeting and subsequently in the next semesters' classes so that I can convey to them (over time) that I'm truly remorseful for my actions? (Please note that I'm not asking "what should I say during the disciplinary meeting so that the consequences are minimized?" but rather "how I can regain a normal working relationship with my professors over time?".) I do not think I have the courage to participate as actively in the classes as before, ask questions, or even look at them but is that something I should attempt at doing to restart a normal student life? I know that my relationship with my professors will likely never be like before again, but at this point, it would be helpful to know if someone went through a similar situation and how they handled it in the long term.

P.S: If this question would be a better fit on Academia SE or I can improve it in this way to make it better fit the scope of this site then do please let me know.

  • Voting to close for a couple of reasons. Primarily, because OP committed academic dishonesty and is asking a "what should I do?"-type question for the disciplinary hearing - which is not only off-scope but really ironic. Jun 25 '19 at 17:16
  • 2
    @baldPrussian The question is not specific to the disciplinary hearing, and more about "how can I eventually fix things" in the long term...perhaps I should remove the part about the disciplinary hearing altogether. I'm not asking what I should say during the hearing to minimize any consequences...but rather how I can attempt to regain a normal working relationship with my professors.
    – guest
    Jun 25 '19 at 17:54
  • To get this reopened, I'd suggest looking at what goal you want to achieve. Restore relationships with your professors? Restore your reputation? Convince your instructors that this was a one-time event? Something else? Reading through your question, I'd suggest starting over again. This is really focused on the hearing and I'd submit that course of question would be closed as off-topic again. Jun 25 '19 at 19:59
  • @baldPrussian The first one mainly i.e. restoring relationships with my professors over the course of time. I don't care about my reputation at this point or trying to convince anyone of anything. As I mentioned, saying anything or making apologies or giving excuses is just a sign of being desperate and manipulative, which I'm not. Nevertheless, thanks for the feedback...I'll see how I can reframe the question without invalidating the existing answer.
    – guest
    Jun 25 '19 at 20:01

If you want to show them how you truly feel, why would behaving genuinely not be the truthful way to do so?
Asking on how to behave in a way that doesn't come natural to you is always at risk of coming across as disingenuous because it is by semantical definition disingenuous.

If your remorse is truthful, then all you have to do is speak the truth. Explain yourself just like you did here. Don't make excuses or soften reality. Don't add white lies. Be open and honest.

I do not think anything I say at this point will improve their impression of me, and really I do not want to sound like a manipulative person. Moreover, I believe actions speak louder than words.

You're contradicting yourself. You don't think anything can be said to improve their impression, but you're asking what you should say during the hearing. You don't want to come across as a manipulative person, but you're asking for tips on how to behave in a way that isn't genuine since it doesn't come naturally to you.

I don't know you, and I only read the question as you phrased it. But as I see it, there are two possibilities here.

Firstly, it could be that you are driven by your anxiety. Anxiety is the manifestation of the need to act, and it often leads to overdoing things. This is what you're doing: you're overthinking and overplanning it. If this is the case, then the contradictions I point out can simply be manifestations of trying to prepare for all possibilities.
It doesn't take any effort to tell the truth. You don't need to choose how to behave. You just go in there being open and honest. If you're too anxious, you can definitely prepare a statement if you want to, but asking others on how to prepare your truly remorseful statement means you're not writing your own genuine statement, which defeats the purpose and is likely going to blow back on you anyway.

Secondly, I get the feeling that you might not be genuinely remorseful, but are trying to find out how to come across as such. This is just subjective interpretation by me, but it strikes me as odd that you're asking on how to behave in a way that you claim to already truly feel.
If that is the case, then it'd be immoral to teach you how to cheat the system.

  • Thanks, perhaps I am overthinking it as I'm not sure what acting "naturally" in such a situation would be. I've always had social anxiety and tend to overthink my interactions from before. Secondly, I am taking this time to understand myself better, why I cheated and how such a wrong choice can be avoided at all costs in the future.
    – guest
    Jun 25 '19 at 12:45
  • (cont.) I know I should not try justifying my act, but internally perhaps I'm trying to "forgive" myself at some level in order to focus on my present and future activities instead of spending all my days regretting; otherwise, the guilt almost cripples my daily activities and I keep thinking about that the whole day. I also had a very unhealthy lifestyle before (addicted to junk food and was fat), and am trying to change those habits too.
    – guest
    Jun 25 '19 at 12:45
  • (cont.) Regarding your last point, I'd perhaps add that I'd mention that it's hard to know whether I'm truly remorseful or just trying to "act" remorseful; it's more like a wild rainbow of emotions (sometimes I blame myself, sometimes I blame the system, etc.) and I'm attempting to see things more clearly. I suppose I'm even thankful to the invigilators that I was caught early, as that gives me an opportunity to improve myself. Anyway, thanks for your answer...it was helpful, I'll ponder on it.
    – guest
    Jun 25 '19 at 13:13

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