Don’t make a mistake

Student reveals her experience with cheating and the drastic outcomes

Anonymous, Special to the A-Blast

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The day that I got caught cheating in my English class was one of the worst days of my life.

It was supposed to be another easy summative assignment.

However, it was not the first time that I had cheated in that class, and I definitely was not planning on it being my last.

Most students who take IB Literature know that we do not write a lot of essays. The first formal writing assignment was in the third quarter and to me, it was unexpected.

Prior to that assignment, most of our grade was heavily weighted on class presentations.

I was not very good at the writing aspect of assignments, but I was a good presenter, so that balanced my grades out.

So when it came time do finally do an essay, I was in a tough position.

I never read the book, and I did not have time to before this essay was due. I had multiple other tests and games during that week, and I kept putting the essay off.

The first thing that I did was ask my friends if they could help, but no one could.

We all picked different passages from the book, so no one could relate to or understand the point that I was trying to make with the passage that I had chosen.

My next step was a decision I will forever regret. I decided that the best thing for me to do was to plagiarize my essay.

I came home the day before it was due and spent hours looking for an essay written about the book that was similar enough to my passage.

After about three hours, I found one that was perfect. I copied and pasted it into a Word document and submitted it in the SafeAssign program on Blackboard.

Safe Assign gives submitters and teachers a percentage of what they believe was plagiarized.

When I saw that the percentage for ‘my’ essay was about 97%, I panicked and quickly hit unsubmit.

I quickly began to edit the essay, change words here and there to decrease the percentage and make the writing seem like my own.

But none of this mattered. Although the plagiarism percentage of my re-submission was far lower, about a 35%, my teacher could see the original submission, so it was glaringly obvious to her that I had cheated.

When I came to school the next day, my teacher confronted me. I had no defense. It was clear that I messed up, and my attempt at hiding it made it much worse.

As she talked to me, I was pretty silent. She was mad, but more in a disappointed way, which made me feel even worse about what I had done.

She said that she had no choice but to give me a referral. I was surprised, but I had no reason to be and deserved this. This was not the first time that she had talked to me about cheating.

I had to talk to an administrator about what had happened. They called my mom and dad, and since this was not my first infraction, I had detention for a week, and I was not allowed to submit my own version of the essay. In the end, I got a zero for my work.

This punishment was big for me. This referral is always going to be on my record, so that means that colleges will see that I have cheated before.

The zero that I got for the assignment did even more damage to what was already a struggling grade.

Additionally, I feel like the label as a ‘cheater’ still follows me, and teachers do not trust me or my own work.

It is not a good feeling, and this experience definitely scared me straight.

Hopefully, listening to what happened to me will have the same effect on you. I hope others do not ever cheat, and that those who do will stop soon.

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