The Catch In Plagiarism


Plagiarism, or what we students generally refer to as copying, is presenting someone else’s work as your own. Whether it be copying down an assignment last minute or cheating in a quiz or an exam, plagiarism gets you out of the problem at hand, at least for the time being. We get the job done, in time, with little or no effort, neglecting that exerted in finding and then covering up the source. All seems fine, so what’s the worse catch in plagiarism?

Well, even if we find a way out of being caught once, or get lucky several times, plagiarism affects us in ways we don’t imagine, and the roots of these effects only get stronger and deeper, if plagiarism is not eradicated from the system. Leaving aside the law and morals associated with plagiarism, let’s see some of the psychological effects plagiarizing has on us and then ask ourselves, is it really worth it?

1.      Lack of Self-Confidence

Copying others’ work make you less confident and you start questioning your abilities. Am I unable to do this assignment myself? Is cheating the only way to pass this exam? Even if you don’t heed these questions, they are still there, in your mind, every time you copy or cheat. And as time passes, this lack of confidence may creep into other activities and adversely impact other mental processes like decision making, or solving a problem.

2.      Becoming Dependent

Plagiarism makes you dependent on the people who provide you with their assignments to copy from, or their answer sheets to peek at. Why carry yourself when there is someone else who can? That begs the question, ‘Do you want to stand on your feet, or you want to look for a support whenever you face a problem?’ While the former may seem difficult right now, the latter surely won’t get you far enough.

3.      Shirking

Plagiarism is a shortcut to work. The more often you opt for this shortcut, the more you are inclined to avoid work altogether. Why work hard when you have a wild card? Why go through all the trouble to play by rules, when you have access to the cheat codes? This is how we convince ourselves while copying. But the problem is, these wild cards and cheat codes only make us work-shirkers. If they will be available to you every time you have some work to do, then please, by all means use them. They are justified if you are sure you will always have this shortcut. If not, try quitting this habit.

4.      Anxiety, Fear & Frustration

Plagiarism doesn’t come alone. It is accompanied by anxiety of finding material to copy from, fear of getting caught, and frustration of never understanding the content. “Who should be easy to copy from? What if I get caught?” If you are a habitual cheater, chances are you will not study for the next assignment or exam. Hence, you are anxious to find someone who can provide you with the content to copy from. And now that you have copied, you’re afraid of the danger of getting caught. Finally, you are frustrated since you can never understand the content you are copying, because you haven’t tried.

So, how do we avoid these effects? Simply, avoid the cause itself; that is plagiarism. Here are some tips to abide by, that may help to avoid plagiarism, and if it’s habitual, eventually get rid of it.

  1. Never make an excuse. If you have to attend a function, party with friends, or any other activity, try to do the work beforehand. Even if you are sick, never resort to this option. Because failing at exam is better than failing yourself.
  2. Start the work from the very first day. Procrastination is a major cause of plagiarism for tomorrow, which is assigned for work, never comes. And before you know, it’s the due date. Now the only option is to meet the deadline by copying or to fail. Therefore, never pile up your work for the last day.
  3. NEVER EVER think, ‘only this time’. One becomes two, two becomes three, and you find yourself sinking in quicksand. So, never make an exception for plagiarism. 

All these things are useless if you are not willing to change yourself and take a stand. But, it isn’t as difficult as one might think. All you have to do is to make a commitment to never cheat again, and try to do your work on time. Don’t worry if you lose some marks in doing so, it’s a worthy investment. At least, now you understand what you are doing, and these mistakes, they are your own mistakes. You will learn from them ultimately.

But if you keep on copying, expecting to get full marks in assignments or exams, then believe me, for every mark you gain now from plagiarism, you will lose two in the future.

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1 Comment

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