Flickr user Jisc

Flickr user Jisc

Papers, essays, articles and reports are a must in college. Ever since we start our freshmen year in high school, teachers put a lot emphasis on writing assignments. We are taught how to write an introduction, how to present and develop ideas, and how to sum everything up in the conclusion. We are supposed to write papers all by ourselves, with our own ideas. But still many students go online, looking for information, and end up copying and pasting other people’s work.

The word “plagiarism” comes from the Latin “plagium”, which means kidnapping. So essentially, plagiarism means stealing someone else’s words and passing them off as one’s own, this is a prohibited practice in the United States. If you get caught plagiarizing other people’s words, your professor is forced to put it in your personal record. A record that will follow you when you go from high school into college and, later on, a job. It will make it harder for you to be respected by colleagues or university professors, because you’ll be looked at as nothing else than a cheater.

Even tough students are aware of the bad that comes with plagiarizing, they still do it more often than they admit. Why? They want to maintain a good GPA. Many students expressed their thoughts on plagiarism in an article posted by CNN Online. There, the students said that because they are mainly judge by their GPA, they tend to sacrifice their integrity and values in order to get the best possible grade. They are so scared of letting peoples’ expectation down, that they steal someone else’s words and make them pass as their own. Other students say that writing isn’t their best skill, so they get someone else to write their assignments for them, or look for papers with the same topic online.

Students look for the easy way out. If they have a full schedule, and not enough time to write before their due date, they plagiarize. What would have taken an hour or two off their day, hours they could spend studying for another class, takes only a couple of minutes if they take it off the internet. They think the only negative consequences of plagiarism come once they get caught, and as young people, college students tend to think nothing can get to them or that they can get out of everything without getting hurt. But the reality is different.

Plagiarizing not only destroys the student reputation while in high school and college. Depending on the size of the offense, plagiarism can lead to legal repercussions. Plagiarizing is the reason Copyright laws were created. You are allowed to look online for inspiration, to inform yourself in a certain topic and maybe quote someone’s ideas, but only if you give credit to the person who wrote them. Once you copy and paste someone’s words and make other people think you wrote them, you are getting into a dangerous zone. It is seen as a criminal offense and can even lead to expulsion.

Before taking someone else’s words and putting them in your paper think about the repercussions. Are you willing to damage your reputation permanently? Lose you values and integrity, or maybe even get expelled? I recommend you go online and read as much as you can about a topic. Learn everything there is to know about it, and the close the internet browser. Focus only on what you’re writing not on what others wrote before you. Express your ideas and points of view without getting them influenced by someone else’s work. If you think someone’s words are too amazing and must be on your paper, use them, but always give credit to whoever wrote them. You are intelligent enough to write you own assignments. Damaging your student and professional reputation by copying someone else is never worth it.