University Survival Kit

Scholarship Essay: Plagiarism Kills Creativity

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Boring. Lazy. Stupid. The first three words that come to mind when I hear the word “plagiarism”. How unoriginal does a person have to be to copy what someone else said? Not only is it wrong, but they can’t even take 2 minutes to reword it to make it not so obvious? To steal someone else’s work and then say it’s his or her own only proves that that person doesn’t have a creative bone in their body, and that they have no ethics or values.

As a person who enjoys reading, drawing, and writing, it is excruciatingly boring to see the same stuff over and over again. The Harry Potter series was so successful that eventually knockoffs were put out into the market.   We didn’t really need a recap with different name and different, under-developed characters. It is just so disappointing to pick up something to read just to find out it’s been ripped off by something else. The same goes for trying to copy a person’s style of art. Every person’s art style should be different, that’s what makes it interesting. How do you think it would go over if I painted Van Gogh’s Starry Night and said that it was an original idea? “No, mine’s so different! Look, I used different shades of blue!” That’s the feeling I get when I read or see someone else’s work that is being claimed by someone else. It gets old, reading and seeing the same stuff and you start questioning what’s real and what’s not, instead of enjoying the art or the book.

There were three people in one of my classes in high school who turned in the same paper, to the same teacher, in the same class period, all at the same time. How do you do that? One of you couldn’t even fix the mistake of misspelling the word “title”? They were too lazy to even read through the paper they were stealing. I feel bad for the kid that actually wrote it. He couldn’t get credit because his friends were too unconcerned to write their own papers. It wasn’t a difficult paper either. All that we needed to do was to pick a theme in the book we read as a class, and discuss it in a paper using evidence from the book. We even discussed all of the themes in depth, and found quotes from the book. Probably the easiest paper I wrote throughout high school. If a person so lacks the motivation to do something as simple as write a paper that was practically written for them, by their teacher, no less, how can they expect to do anything creative or meaningful throughout their lives?

The stupidity of plagiarism confounds me. You don’t have a single original thought in your head? How is it possible to go through life like that? I honestly can’t imagine it. It’s impossible to get anywhere in life without being original in some way. The less you stretch your creative juices, the more you kill any development of independent, problem-solving thought processes. Forget about making a difference in the world. Even for something like becoming a baker, like I want to, it’s not possible to do without being original. I wouldn’t get very far in my career if I were to go around and buy other people’s products and sell them as if they were my own, or copy their designs in my shop. To be truly successful, I have to come up with my own designs for cakes, cupcakes, and other confections. It would be too stressful and completely unethical if I were to just copy other people, and I’d get caught up in a vicious cycle of covering my tracks. I’d be found out as a fraud in no time and then I would no longer have a business. Taking the credit for other’s work would be so unsatisfying and I have to believe it eventually takes a toll on your soul.

What I don’t think people understand is that what seems like a little harmless copying now, can have extraordinary ramifications later. You can’t fake your way through your whole life, and if you could, what kind of life is that? All that’s proven when you plagiarize is that you don’t know how to put your voice out into the world. You can’t leave an effective statement on your work or your life, because none of the ideas you put out into the universe are your own. How can you be a role model to anyone when you are nothing but a fake? When that realization hits you full force, it would be near impossible to have any pride or faith in yourself, and worst of all, it would be hard to even know who you are.

You’ve just read a creative Scholarship essay created by Taylor Merklin. Don’t you think it is nicely written? Besides, it’s absolutely original, the Unicheck report has proved it.