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My Attitude To Plagiarism And Individuality

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From the time I’ve been enrolled in school, we’ve had posters, lectures and teachers all preach about the negatives of plagiarism. I was brought up in a town where everyone understood the importance of sharing unique ideas. Coming from an area so small with few people in the community and school district our singularity is important because otherwise, it would be too easy to be swayed by our peers into thinking and acting the same.

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We were taught that if you plagiarize then you are robbing someone of their genuine ideas and also yourself of coming up and presenting ideas in a way critical to the development of one’s individuality. I have always strived for a distinction between me and the people I have grown up with. I find individualism in things like clothing and work ethic. I’ve always been creative with the way I carry myself and I have always been driven and dedicated with everything I lay my hands on. In tenth grade, I was upset to find out that one of my close friends plagiarized my entire paper. I helped them in good faith and when it came to my attention that my ideas had been stolen I went through a whirlwind of emotions. The process of going through this made me realize how important my creations are. This was a wake-up call because who I am as an individual was stripped from me and the feeling of having my words taken from me and used as someone else’s idea made me feel extremely furious and betrayed. From this, I knew that I didn’t want to experience anything similar ever again. I thought how could anyone with any common sense do such a thing to their friend or even themselves. It wasn’t until this year, specifically these past couple weeks that I went through an immeasurable amount of personal growth and understanding of my values. The lessons I have learned from this experience have further benefitted my growth as a student of academic integrity. I was no longer at the receiving end, I had become the perpetrator. This incident started as nothing but a mistake and now I am facing the consequences of my actions. I couldn’t stop beating myself up about the entirety of the situation.

What I was taught to almost fear, I had become. I had plagiarized someone else’s work and took credit for their ideas. It felt like I had been running from something and it wasn’t until this hardship of participating in unoriginality that I realized the thing I had been running from was myself. What I didn’t realize then was It took me to be at both ends to truly grasp and grow my passion for my never-ending value of individuality. It was recently that we had read Immanuel Kant on “Enlightenment”, I agreed with the reading, but now my experience could embody the one line that stood out from the rest. Immanuel Kant perfectly states, “ One learns to walk only by falling a few times!” ( R 41. 10) Falling is what I need to reach the next level of developing my unique identity. The “fall” at hand did not define me and doesn’t represent me as the individual I continue to push for every day. It took reaching that low point to allow the accomplishment of understanding of what It meant to be me.

18 May 2020

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