If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my years in school, it’s that plagiarizing is bad. It’s really bad. Yet, even after receiving multiple lectures and warnings about the consequences of plagiarizing, several students still haven’t heeded the message.
Today we’re going to talk about what you should do if you were caught plagiarizing (and no, “I didn’t know” isn’t an excuse).
1) Don’t panic!
When you get caught red-handed by your teacher/lecturer/professor, don’t freak out! Remain calm, because panicking will only make matters worse for yourself. So please – for everyone involved – keep a cool head. You’ll need it to figure out how to move forward.
2) Take responsibility for your actions.
Remain calm, because panicking will only make matters worse for yourself.
It’s not okay to blame other people, say that you forgot what you wrote, or simply ignore the situation and hope no one calls you out on it. Always remember that lying is never the answer!
3) Apologize if necessary. If your teacher/lecturer/professor contacts you about something related to plagiarism, don’t be frightened or nervous about talking to them in person or over email/IM. They are to help improve your writing skills and to reward you for all the hard work you put into your studies (hopefully).
So, if they contact you because someone else caught you plagiarizing their work and sent the evidence to them, it’s time to man up and face the consequences. You can apologize right away or eventually – no one will hold it against you as long as you take responsibility for your actions.
4) Don’t be afraid to seek outside help. It sucks that this happened, but don’t worry! With a little research and effort on finding writing resources, plagiarism may not have been the best idea in the first place. There are many different workshops out there where students can learn about proper citation styles and how to avoid plagiarism, so if you’re dealing with a difficult situation, reach out to someone for help. And don’t worry – your teacher/lecturer will probably understand your situation and be happy that you’re trying to fix things instead of dragging them on indefinitely.
5) Come up with an action plan and stick to it! You know what they say: ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. So educate yourself, use the proper citation style in the future (if needed), and ask for help when necessary. But most importantly, acknowledge why you plagiarized in the first place. Did you not care about college? Were you busy? Or did you just get caught up in something else and forget about schoolwork? Identify whatever it was, change it, and never plagiarize again!
Now that you know what to do if you were caught plagiarizing, go out there and win that scholarship or internship. Best of luck and remember: stay positive, be proactive (and prepared), and ask for help whenever necessary.
I hope this helps someone out there – good luck!
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