Today’s lesson is based on the opening story in Friday’s blog post, “Buckle Up.” 

Last week’s blog post here on

The story starts with a college student at Princeton University who was in her senior year, just months from graduating when she made a choice that would be with her for the rest of her life. When students enrolled in at Princeton and many other schools, they sign an honor code that they will not cheat or plagiaries. Princeton in a very difficult school to get in to and it has a storied history of famous Alumni from Jimmy Stewart,Jeff Bezos, President Woodrow Wilson, Aaron Burr and James Madison to name just a few.  As I tell the story in the blog post, when writing a term paper for a Spanish American Literature class “Jane” lifted, word for word, passages from a publication reviewing the book the paper was to be about.  She had given the author credit in footnotes, but whether she thought that the professor would not check the citing or whatever the reason, she stole the words of someone else. When someone plagiarizes, they steel from someone else and they rob themself of knowing that they did their own work and they cheat them of any recognition awarded because it was ill-gotten.  

Princeton University the scene of the opening story of last week’s blog post, “Buckle-Up”

     The professor took the matter to the committee who handles such matters and they too felt that the honor code had been violated and went on to notify the school president and board.  It was decided that the student’s diploma would be held for a year following graduation and that  the law school “Jane” had applied to would be notified of the offense.  Jane and her family was able to have a civil court hear the case and they agreed with the decision the Princeton board and president  had come to and even when taken to a higher court they too agreed as well. 

     Although I was unable to find out if the Princeton alumni went on to law school or what she is doing now, I am wondering if she wishes she had made a different choice than to  plagiarize someone else’s work?  Was it worth it?  Lots of people make bad choices and do stupid things.  Unfortunately, you just don’t think the poor choices and stupid decisions will result in such bad consequences or long term affects.  The student paid the consequences for her offense and doesn’t deserve to be reminded of probably a very difficult time in her life (which is why her name has been left out and I am using the fictitious name, “Jane” in this lesson.   You can look it up if you wish, but you won’t find it here).  

     Success and winning do not come easy.  Some may be able to make it ‘look’ easy.  The Tom Brady’s, Jesse Owens, Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Jeff Bezos, Stephen Covey, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Dr. Ben Carson, Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, Lori Grenier, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, Maya Angelou and many others who we may look at and say, “oh, the success looks like it came so easy for them.  They just ‘look’ at something and it becomes successful.” Or “they surly don’t have to work at” what ever it is at they do.  Maybe Maya Angelou could produce the words, but there no doubt work it putting those words together, you just listen to those words and you can feel the effort.  Or look at film of Michael Jordan make those jump and careful shots go in and you know there was work and time logged in the gym practicing those shots over and over again and the day in and day out work over the years that kept him in tip top shape to play the game, or Richard Branson who seems to have one big idea that leads to another and to have the ‘guts’ to take on the challenges and stunts to risk his financial future and safety for the next ‘big thing.’  What we don’t see in these successful is the failures and obstacle that got in the way of their achievements.  Read about Thomas Edison and the failures in his life before the success of the light bulb.  Winston Churchill had his share of ups and downs yet the experiences in his life, as the soldier in the trenches of WWI and unhappy times as a child helped his relate to people and were with him as he made difficult decisions as the Prime Minister of Great Britain and helped lead his citizens through the dark days of World War II and the aftermath that took years to rebuild from.  

     Why anyone would want to finagle or swindle their their way to win or achieve something they didn’t truly earn themself is beyond me.  Maybe they are able to fool those they are trying to deceive, yet as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool and some of the people all of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”  Just look at “Jane.”  In a day of no computers or computer software to look for duplicate/ copied words in papers, now readily available to educators, her professor was able to suspect that something didn’t seem right and did her own sleuthing to out smart a crafty student.  

Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote was spoken during the Lincoln Douglas debates on September 2, 1858 in Clinton, Illinois.

     Just look at any hard earned success.  I’ll use sports as an example because they is so much film coverage so you can actually see what I’m talking about, however, the same is true in any of the successes in life, the other events are not usually documented as carefully and closely as in sports on a big screen, yet no sweeter.  One could look at the University of Michigan win last night in the National College Football Championship against the University of Washington. The Wolverines were able to succeed in a season despite being accused of stealing signs, their coat was penalized and unable to coach on the field for several games at the beginning of toward the end of the season.  So basically they were able to win with ‘one arm tied behind their back.’  If the coaching staff and players hadn’t been tough and disciplined enough to carry on without their head coach, they would have fallen apart amid the accusations and disruption in their organization.  What the Wolverines displayed was that the effort and time put in showed in their performance.  There was no doubt that the best team in college football went home last night with the Championship Title.  The score and their their performance showed who was the best.  Their chant, which most likely originated in coach, Jim Harbaugh’s family as he was growing up, “Who Has It Better Than Us?!!” heard last night on the podium when the trophy was awarded, from Coach Harbaugh’s Dad, too a former assistant coach on the University of Michigan coaching staff, was even sweeter than had ever been spoken before…”Nobody” the players and fans answered back.  

     Cheaters don’t win and Winners don’t Cheat…and those words can inspire many …

Great Days 🍎