In this era where intellectual property—in this case, knowledge—is being easily reaped off, I firmly believe of character building before it is too late. Leonard Pitts, Jr. (2006) in his articles in the San Jose News about plagiarism has let me picture the present scenario of deteriorating diligence, ethics, character, and responsibility, which is c terribly happening today.
What he asserts “lying about authorship of the work, thieving the grade that results” is true to me as I reevaluate what I, and hundreds more of students and professionals, habitually do when I write papers; likewise, what happened in the Piper High as illustrated by L. Pitts, Jr. makes me realize many lessons in life. McCabe said in the article of Leonard Pitts, Jr. Teacher Resigns Over Plagiarism Fight that one reason why students plagiarize is the unfairness a student feel because they have to compete with students who are otherwise honest; as a result, they find for means to make it fair, and also to plagiarize is one. I remember how pathetic I am when I knew my friends had just accomplished writing their academic papers knowing that they only plagiarize. It is indeed unjust for me who works hard taking extra time to study the subject matter just to finish the paper.
What makes it worse is that after I paid a lot of effort more than my classmate’s, he got higher grade than me. I cannot blame our teacher, the school policy either; the school did not fall short of intensive examination to know who plagiarize. Technology has been one tool being used by some law-abiding institutions like schools to fight plagiarism; however, did it successfully cease cheaters? I doubt. Until now, some plagiarize without being caught by plagiarism tests. It is still hard to detect who bootlegged because no one admits such an awful act. And worse, they seemed to be tolerated by their parents.
Because of that feeling of being hit below the belt, plagiarism became one of my tactics. For the sake of grades, I did that unethical and stupid thing. I see almost all my papers largely inauthentic. Yes, I cheated; we cheated; almost all of us cheated, and several of us still cheat. But as I think it over, I feel ashamed of myself. But how much does it cost to not refurbish ethics for the sake of having diploma? Perhaps I should evaluate what Barrie, the CEO of Turnitin, asserts, “It's naive to believe that once a student who cheated his way through Palo Alto High School receives a diploma, all of a sudden he becomes an ethical person.
And maybe I should reevaluate it every time I, well, plagiarize because I must admit that I, ultimately, miss an important lesson here. Further anew circumstance that made me think cheating is reasonable is when I get used to it. Before, we feel nothing more so unlawful in plagiarism instead we consider it generosity if we share answers in assignments and home works with classmates. I agree that cheating became more rampant when you do not feel either that you are doing it like what Alexi Dagan, a junior student at Palo Alto High, said until I had a rejuvenating experience about it.
I remember my mother’s “litany” whenever she sees me indolent that I do not pour much effort in accomplishing my home works and other academic matters. “You must work hard for your own life; you are the one responsible to it. ” That “litany” has always driven me to excel in school and, somehow, be academically excellent. Time came that I have to accomplish numerous academic papers in a very short time. Hopeless, plagiarism became an option to me since I know my classmates also do that. I browse the net, copied paragraphs, and pasted them in my paper as if I am the one who wrote them because I did not included my source.
But my mother scolded me and leave me a question, “Did those things [you copied] there teach you the lesson? ”1 I first got tricked. And finally, I realize some things. How ridiculous I am before to plagiarize. Little did I realize how important it is to work hard. Concurrently, little did I think that I may discover some things in the process of becoming honest. Then again, little did I become conscious that these things would make me more human. I learned that there are more significant lessons that I could learn than the lessons in the subject matter.
From then on, I find out how to excel academically in the right way while I am learning some lessons in life. The aftermath, however, has taught me a lot—I knew my weaknesses and strengths and how to make myself more productive. I beg to hesitate if a single parent of the alleged cheaters in the Piper High on 2002 is as broadminded as my mother. True enough, parents should be “more concerned about [their children’s] college admission” , but I firmly believe they should be more concerned on how their children grow with disposition, honesty, and ethics; I think that is more important, for that was my mother and my experiences had taught me.
Character is about who you are when there's nobody in the room but you…character is far and away the most important… [It] allows you to think well of yourself ,” this touched me. Yes. I cannot deny the fact that even I have a hard time coping from the thread of plagiarism. And yes. It will take some effort to imbue to us students, the significance of real education. True enough, no one would take the harder way when there is an easier way around.
But education from the root word “educate” which literally means “to bring out,” I have to understand the fact that if I have to do hardship by squeezing all the thoughts I have in mind to finish academic papers, that is to “bring out” the best in me. Imbuing us the character and attitude towards fulfilling the norms being set is no less indispensable. However, struggling against plagiarism, as one way to imbue the students with character through imbuing them the real meaning of education, is a two-way. All involved parties should excel to uphold the goodness in it.
Well, each must also positivize the matter; they have to consider more importantly the benefit they can obtain from it rather than the damage, which are usually short-term in nature, meaning, it did not help them as humans but just for the sake of lame reasons. I could even make some copy-paste from the internet to accomplish this paper. But after I have read all the four articles (see footnotes), there is no greater satisfying emotion I felt when, after I worked hard to organize my thought, I will reap the fruit of my labor. Reason, in this case, must be over tradition. Mores are better to be followed than folkways, isn’t it?