University Survival Kit

Scholarship Essay: How does the Digital Age Influence Plagiarism and Cheating?

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I am 24 years old, which means I was born in a world where the Internet was already a thing and I seriously can’t imagine living without it.

It is true, I must admit, that while I am young, I’m not that young, and growing up I had dial-up and only used it for special occasions. My parents even owned a multi-tome Encyclopedia, and I remember perusing it curiously with my sister for school assignments.

Still, the Internet has been in my life long enough to ensure my knowledge that everything that could be, already is. I know, I know, this sentence is not true in every field of study (in most it isn’t), but I’m talking about the arts specifically, in which it almost is.

OK, this is my story: I have been trying to find an original idea to write a script for a musical. This is, I know, no small task. But you can imagine that, because I am a type A, Hermione-kind of girl, I’ve read about most subjects I care about enough to ensure that I can think of nothing original. Everything has already been done, every story has been written, every song has been sung. What a sad, sad thing.

Of course, such wonderful things as “modernizations” and “remakes” exist, to make our lives colorful and happy again, such as the amazing Sherlock series by the BBC (based on the original Conan Doyle stories) or the wonderful Pride and Prejudice movie by Joe Wright (based on Jane Austen’s work). But that is all they are: remakes. They even make me feel worse, considering I can’t even make an original modernization because they beat me to it!

In this age and time, it is very hard not to fall into temptation and copy someone else’s work. I understand the feeling! How, HOW, can my content be as good as any of the other millions out there, let alone better. Mine. My little, tiny, biased contribution to society. And the Internet makes it all so easy, so accessible, everything is at hand and ready-to-use.

But that’s the key, isn’t it? It’s the uniqueness of each person’s work what makes it worth it. The Internet does not exist only to let us know how useless we are and how we are never going to be as original as JRR Tolkien or Woody Allen. Or to help random teenagers get ridiculously rich through YouTube or Vine or useless apps (noticed how it’s never Pinterest? WHY is it never Pinterest? I must admit that, humility aside, I’m a Pinterest GENIUS).

The Internet is the way to push one person’s point of view to unknown limits, and sometimes (even if it is not a usual thing) it rewards people’s originality and hard work. HEY, HOLD ON! Maybe that will be the starting point of my musical: the struggle of a young person to find an original idea for a musical. YEAH, THAT’S IT. LET’S GO!

***5 minutes later, finds plot of [Title of Show] on Wikipedia. Dies.

This is another creative writing written by Victoria Raigorodsky, our Scholarship participant!