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Lucy is an intelligent and well-behaved girl who had always topped her class. She would always get high marks and outperform others. Her room was filled with awards and certificates.

Through all of her years at school, she remained confident and responsible with her work and duties. She never found any of her work too difficult at any time.

One day, whilst preparing for her math test, she faced many problems. She found the work tough and challenging. She kept thinking about how to solve the tough practice sheet for the test.

She put a lot of thought into her work, then said to herself, ‘I’m never going to get decent grades in this test and everyone will think of me as a failure. What should I do? Wait … I should cheat. No wait, I shouldn’t.’

She kept on thinking whether she should cheat or not, and finally decided to cheat and save herself from embarrassment in front of the class. Her decision was based on the fact that most kids didn’t study much, put in a brief effort and yet they got decent results. So taking a ‘shortcut’ to success was not all that bad.

Her plan was to go to the playground and hit the beehive on the tree so all the bees could come out and then she could tell the teacher, “There’s a whole bunch of bees outside trying to sting people!”

Then Mr Long would run outside and try to help the people being stung by the bees. Then she would run to the teacher’s desk to get the test answers. It was the perfect plan!

She changed her mind and the next day she decided to distract her teacher in another way.

She shouted, “There’s a blue bottle bee in the room!”

The whole class began searching and so did Mr Long. Meanwhile, she went to Mr Long’s desk and took out the test answers and quicly returned to her seat. When Mr Long asked where the insect was, Lucy innocently said, “It probably flew out.”

Lucy memorised all the answers in the paper she had taken out. Her parents saw her and they smiled that she was working so hard. They didn’t know she was preparing to cheating.

On Monday she went to give her test and realised the questions didn’t match the answers. She realised that the answer sheet she had taken was of another test paper. She felt lost and upset. Still she filled in some answers and handed the paper.

Despite the fact that she had not done well in her test, she still acted confident due to her habit of getting good results consistently.

The results came out a week later and she failed. The whole class was stunned and Mr Long specifically was very upset. Lucy too was in a state of shock. She then admitted to her teacher what she had done and how sorry she was about it. She promised to herself never to do any such thing again.

Shortcuts in any form never give desired results. Hard work, consistency and effort will always pay you back.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 22nd, 2019