“Copy” and “Paste”: They are the two of the easiest commands on your computer. When I was in the fifth grade, I recall having to do a science project for the first time. Performing the experiment was fun; however, my least favorite part of the assignment was writing the paper, giving details on my data obtained and background information I had researched. Being young, my first instinct was to copy and paste whatever I found on Wikipedia, removing the footnote formats and formatting it to look as though I typed it myself.
The next day when my project was due, I got an “A” on my research paper. However, when I entered middle school and attempted to do the same thing, I was shocked to have gotten a bold, red “F” that burned my eyes as it did against the white paper. And that’s how I learned about the word “plagiarism.” Plagiarism is like a sin. It’s so easy to do, yet the punishments are extremely severe. Even if you don’t get caught, you’re still suffering from the consequences of your actions, whether you’re aware of it or not.
One consequence of plagiarism is that it kills creativity and effort. In high school, many students find themselves prone to plagiarize essays in order to get an assignment done quickly before its deadline. The common consequence of being caught plagiarizing a high school paper is getting a failing grade, and the student would most likely be made to write an original essay, depending on their teacher. Although this may not seem to have a major effect on a person who’s in school, it can have drastic effects on an individual later during their career. For example, it would be absolutely devastating to be given the task of coming up with an original idea to submit to one’s corporation in order to receive a promotion. That individual, who had once plagiarized in order to simply get things done, would not be able to come up with any idea of their own. This is due to the fact that they had copied someone else’s idea and with no one to copy, they are faced with having to stay at the “bottom” of the corporation for the time that they are working for them.
Another consequence of plagiarism is to pay. By “pay,” I mean literally pay, as in a fine and even jail time. The one thing that English professors stress to their students is that you should never plagiarize. The fine for academic dishonesty ranges from $500 to $5,000, depending on the severity of the punishment. Jail time can last for six months up to five years, and I don’t believe copying and pasting is worth having to spend my precious time behind bars. If you don’t feel like writing an essay, the best solution would be to just drop out of college because if you feel that plagiarizing is your best option, then you don’t belong in college where students are actually trying to make it in life. Not only do you steal the credit of someone else’s work, but you also inflict harm to yourself.
At least once in their lives, mostly everyone has been guilty of plagiarism. For me, it only took that “F” in middle school to stop me from plagiarizing. For others, it might be too late for them when they realize that plagiarism has negatively impacted them. Whatever you do, don’t allow plagiarism to plague you. Be original, and you’ll be guaranteed a successful career versus those who don’t try.
This is the essay created by Caitlin Chans, our Scholarship contest participant. Would like to read more? Check this link out.