Ghosts of Essays Past

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It’s that spooky time of year again. No, not Halloween, but the
ghoulish time when you are buired under piles of essays, no time, and you’re
freaking out. Rummaging through the cobwebs of your old essays, you discover
that you handed in a similar essay that could even double for the one you have
due. You might be so frightened of your workload and so tempted by this
rediscovered essay that you would even consider doing “that shall not be named” aka the “P word” aka the “sinister P” aka PLAGIRISM (AHHH). With time against you and more essays than you can count, you might think that plagiarism is your best option, but think again.

While this seductive ghost may appear to be your answer, did you
know that handing in work that you had previously submitted in another class
counts as plagiarism? Ya, I know! Plagiarism . . . eek. Its a word that scares
most students, and scares me, too. We are told we can plagiarize without
intentionally doing it, and that plagiarism is anything that you take credit
for that isn’t your own original work.  How do we sort out the right from the
wrong, the intentional to the unintentional forms of plagiarism? Luckily, the
Academic Integrity Office (AIO) lays out the different academic offences
students may commit, and how they are dealt with.

The AIO helpfully lists how students may commit the academic
offenses, but they all have the same basic point. If you KNOWINGLY submit
anything as your own work that is not yours OR isn’t original (aka you handed
in part or the whole essay before) you are committing the horrible, the
terrible and the unwanted: plagiarism.
By committing this act, you may be forced to forfeit your grade for the
assignment, forfeit your grade for the course or worse, you could even be
expelled from the school. Scary, right?

It is so important to see that plagiarism isn’t worth getting
kicked out of school for, and that it is in your hands to follow academic
policies. Often times I’m so worried that I might accidentally plagiarize that
I always consult citation formats or ask my professors. When it comes to your
writing, make sure you never have to second guess.

So, what do you do when you have a big workload and feel lost? Get
help. Talk to your professors about getting an extension, but be wary, being
given more time might make you procrastinate. Talk to your college registrar’s
office or the Academic Success Centre as both may provide advice on time
management or help you work out a plan to complete all of your work. After all, for all students, nothing is scarier than plagiarism . . . BOO!

Desiree

2 comments on “Ghosts of Essays Past

  1. Thanks for this post Desiree! Plagiarism is a scary topic but it’s less scary when people start to talk about it. Better safe than sorry. And it’s always a good idea to talk to your prof, or your TA, or a librarian, if you’re not sure.

  2. Glad you liked it. My aim with the post was to paradoxically treat plagiarism as a taboo that should be spoken about, and dealt with . . . I hope that makes sense!

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