Continued from the previous post...
5. Copying during exams: The moralists among you would be taken aback. How on Mother Earth can copying be deemed a virtue?! But the fact of the matter is, it's the way to survive! Microsoft made billions copying the Mac OS. Apple admitted that the ubuititous iPod is not their own idea. Eddie van Halen became one of the greatest guitarists though his techniques are borrowed from others, notably Jimmy Page's tapping.
Copying in exams is just that - a way to survive in a rat race where only the streetsmart get through. But there is another angle to this - a willingness to help others, even while risking their own marks! In an industry, will any professional take a decision without consulting others? (Leave George Bush out of this for now) Of course not! So what is wrong in a student confirming whether his answer to question 3(a) is correct? You tell me!
Furthermore, to avoid the prying eye of the invigilator, the copier has to master many a skill... Acting, sign language, reading esoteric cutpieces of minimal font size (the epitome of space efficiency, surely!), mentally calculting how much more he needs to score before he can ensure the safety of not having to buy another exam form (I always said if Shaun Pollock had been an engineer, SA would have won the '03 World Cup... Instead of that quite terrible communication error). Add these to the aforestated list of friendship, judicious risk-taking, survival... How can copying be looked upon as anything other than noble?
6. Tackling Failure: They say that the stepping stone to success is failure. In that case, the engineering student is quite simply among the cream of successful people! From suppli to appli, he is the quintessential manifestation of someone who has looked failure in the eye. And the *success*? Well, the very fact that he manages to pass out of college (erm, most of them, anyway!) is itself a great success!
7. Adjustments: Ah. Now this is a part of college life that noone can avoid. The lab is, quite simply, one place where honesty does not pay. Adjustment (or 'standardization of values', as I prefer to call it) is an age-old tactic. And before you yell at me saying this is going too far, take a minute off and think what the higher echelons of the faculty do to our internal marks before publishing them. Isn't 'normalization' a type of adjustment too, so that everyone becomes happy? I've been to companies and I know that 'adjustments' are a very common tactic... It's essential to survive in the industry! I'm not talking Enronesque billions being sifted away from the rightful owners. But our type of adjustments ensure that everyone is happy, and have less work to do.
Minor example: Software training: "Mark course complete". Need I say more? ;)
Sometimes I think they make us do experiments just to get acquainted with the fine art of adjustments....
There you go :)
Engineers: Now don't you feel much prouder of being who you are?
Non-Engineers: You poor guys have no idea what you're missing!