Habits of Mind: Responsibility and Engagement
This past week in Accelerated composition, one of the most memorable discussions from class was about plagiarism. It is inevitable that at one point or another, one has plagiarized whether they know it or not. It is so easy to plagiarize and not be aware of it, but there are definitely a few times that I consciously remember copying someone else's work. Although copying homework is not a serious form of plagiarism, it still definitely counts. When you brought up in class how you used to write essays for money, I suddenly remembered when I plagiarized something in the worst form.
It was the summer of my junior year, and my advanced placement language and composition class had a ton of work that was required to be done before classes started. I was procrastinating, as per usual, and the book I had to read and research paper I had to write were slowly but surely creeping up on me. I always dread writing essays, especially research ones (hence why I am writing this now to avoid writing my research paper draft due tomorrow) and I knew there was no way I would find the motivation to write it anytime soon. I was on the internet one night and stumbled upon a website that wrote essays for people. The prices seemed reasonable, and the website seemed legitimate, so I figured I would give it a shot. I found someone on the website to write my paper for me in the exchange of around fifty dollars. I thought this price was more than fair, given I only had a few days till it was due, and knowing someone else would take the burden of this paper put me at ease. That night I got my dad's credit card and paid the money for someone to write me my research essay. It didn't exactly feel great, but I was beyond desperate. A few days later the paper was ready, and it was such a relief. The worst part is I didn't even proof read the paper before printing it out and handing it in (I know, I'm the worst). I handed it in and felt such a sense of relief. Of course it took my teacher literally five months to even hand them back, and I got an 87 on it. I had the same English teacher the previous year and that was always the grade she would give me, so I can almost guarantee she didn't even read it. I did get pretty lucky here, since no one ever found out I paid for my essay. To be honest, I completely forgot that I even did this until you told us the story about you writing essays for people in class. Who knows, maybe you were the one who wrote my essay for me.
This entire ordeal makes me reflect on the habit of mind, responsibility. Although I never got caught and never took ownership of my actions, I could have easily been caught and had major consequences. I would have accepted the consequences, knowing what I did was wrong, especially in a "college level" class. Now that I am in college, I would never do this knowing that the consequences would be much worse. Also, my professors may be able to tell if it wasn't my writing. All in all, being forced to write essays and do work I never want to do makes me become more engaged in the material and helps me gain a deeper understanding. The whole point of being assigned essays and what not is to help me understand what we are learning, and will only further my education.