During my second and third year, COVID made all my engineering exams online. The exams were not proctored. Some of the exams I cheated by working with a group of friends. One person would have the exam open and we all would help and gain extra time by working on the solutions before we did our test. I would look at my friend's exam and keep notes of the answers and work out the solutions/methods in my own time before going on to do my exam. Our exam question are not all the same - they do change it up a bit between each student - however, some of the questions would be the same and some would just have different values but same layout of the question. Because of how the lecturers set up the exam I got grades that were average around 40-70% in some of those exams, although my assignments helped boost those grades up. I know that when you do an engineering exam you still need to know the topics and how to apply the methods therefore some of those exams were lower than others.
After my undergrad I decided to do a master's in which I did not cheat apart from getting help on a online quiz for one of the courses.
I never plagiarised or paid someone to do my work, I only collaborated with my friend during some of my online exams and assignments.
I know what I did is cheating in some of these exams including some finals and assignment, I regret ever doing it, I feel ashamed and guilty and rightfully so. I just can’t comprehend why I did this, I wish the exams were in an exam hall.
I want advice on what I should do next. I’ve graduated and working as a graduate engineer in an engineering company. I feel like I don’t deserve this job and that I’m a fraud. I also feel like I don’t deserve the degree and that I should revoke the degree and tell the university about what I did. I aspired to be an engineer ever since I started this course and want to be a professional engineer in the future with a chartered engineer status. But I feel what I’ve done in the past means that I cannot achieve this as I would be a fraud and unethical because I cheated in those exams.
Should I leave engineering? Return my degree and tell the university? Am I a fraud? Should I work toward an engineering chartership (professional engineering)?
Thank you all for the advice, I feel a bit better from reading everyone’s comments. Honestly, I really could not sleep and work because of this guilt. I have decided to move on and not expose my cheating and take this as a lesson for myself. I’ll continue to work in engineering and be the best I can in my work. I’ll work towards my chartership which will take some years to achieve but I believe that I can build and repair my integrity and ethics while working in industry as an engineer. I’ll hope this will be enough for me to achieve my goals and someday be a professional engineer that can be a leader. I hope the mistakes I’ve made at university will be compensated through my work in industry. On the point of safety critical work (my work includes safety critical work), I’ll ensure my work is done to the standards and regulations in my industry and always keep an eye out for any unethical practices. I’ll also try and go through my lecture notes on those courses and try and understand them better - although those courses do not help me with my current work but you never know I may may work in those specific field in the future. In addition, I’ll work on learning new stuff to support my future.
You do not understand how helpful it was to receive feedback from you guys. I felt like I was in a dark place but I’m glad I’ve found some light. I’m an engineer and not a fraud, I feel so bad and guilty but I believe I can give back to the community and work hard in my field. Thank you all for your help.