Plagiarism was always a word that instilled fear in me. Teachers put so much emphasis on the evils of it and the scale of punishment when I was young that it is now impossible for me to hear the word and not feel stressed. To this day whenever I reach the plagiarism section of a new syllabus, which inevitably exists, generally somewhere in the middle, I always panic. I always worry that I will be accused of plagiarism, that I will accidentally forget to cite a quote, or that I will write something not knowing that someone else already said it. Yet I have never in my life done anything that even comes close to being classified as plagiarism. I think other students may have a similar feeling. So much threat is attached to the concept of plagiarism that is creates an irrational fear for me. And often things classified as plagiarism are really just mistakes that could easily be fixed, and had no dishonest intent behind them. As we said in class, there is a difference between a mistake and dishonesty. And even those students who do copy papers may feel pushed to that point my stress. They are so inundated with work for multiple classes that they may feel copying the work is worth the risk. That does not excuse the actions, but it does highlight a flaw in the system.


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