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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Tests Are Not Just Academic

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“Graduation is an exercise.”

That was the clever headline I put over a storyboard I submitted for a photo class in college. My photos showed the daily grind students plod through to reach the holy grail — a college degree.

Looking back, I’d say the biggest obstacle was passing tests. Lots of tests. I remember cramming for tests … and trying to guess what will be asked.

Students are always looking for an edge. Students like Henry Lynch, for example. He found a short cut — through an air duct. And perhaps he deserves an A for effort and creative thinking and his rigorous pursuit of knowledge.

Police said Lynch and a fellow student at the University of Kentucky in Lexington sneaked into a third-floor office to steal a final exam. He used an air duct to gain access.

What they didn’t expect was the professor returning to his office at 2 a.m.

Well, they got caught and now face another test — in court, where they no doubt will learn some life lessons.

Part of me thinks the air duct crawl was a bit rigorous, but he would walk away knowing the answers to questions deemed significant by the prof.

Isn’t that the goal, after all?

No, no, I won’t condone cheating. The culprits deserve whatever they get, because they failed the big final exam that we all face. 

Tests also measure a student’s integrity and attitude and dedication to the educational process,  and eventually learning — about yourself.

And, even if you ace all your tests, graduation is still an important exercise.

Even if you didn’t drag yourself through an air duct.

I’m Lonny Cain, and that’s my perspective.

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