Cheating cheats cheaters

By  Natalie Guadagnoli, Catholic Register Special
  • April 12, 2007
I still remember my first English class in high school. I was in Grade 9 and it was period two. The teacher walked in, smiled and got right down to business. The first item on her agenda was plagiarism.
My head slowly lowered as I was about to endure such a boring topic. The words “plagiarism is not tolerated at this school” still ring through my ears. Looking around the class I watched as all innocent faces nodded in agreement. I didn’t realize that most of them even considered committing such a sin.

Life as a high school student isn’t as easy as some may assume, and while my grades increased, so did my pile of homework. Some students take the easy way out and copy and paste off Google. Others, including myself, take the time to do the work themselves. The question remains, why doesn’t every student do the same?

I can recall wasting countless hours in front of the computer screen surfing the web instead of doing my homework. I ended up rushing through my homework, avoiding not only a late bedtime, but also my parents’ reaction when they found out I had wasted all my time on MSN. I find it hard to wake up the next morning and hand in dreadful work. Now, had I been a completely different person I would have clicked onto Google, typed in my topic and voila! I’m done. My bedtime would be early and the next morning I would actually be able to wake up. My homework would be completed and I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a bad mark. I think I’m beginning to understand why students plagiarize.

Life seems easy when all you have to do is copy and paste something onto Word, but does it mean its the right thing to do? We, as Catholic students, should know that it isn't. In the end the only thing we end up doing is disobeying God’s commandment, “Thou shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another”           (Leviticus 19: 11 ).

When we plagiarize not only do we go against everything God wants, we also lie, steal and cheat ourselves in the process. We also end up taking credit for other peoples’ work and start to create bad habits. We start to lose faith in ourselves and start believing that we aren’t capable of doing the work ourselves.

Looking back on my first day of high school, I realize how important it was that my classmates and I understood the importance of handing in our own work. Had we all disregarded what my teacher had to say, then we’d be going against our Catholic conscience.

I’m not saying everyone does plagiarize, but there are students who do. My advice to you, cut down on all the hours you spend rotting in front of the computer screen and do what’s most important. Live your life the way God wants you to, full of honesty and truth. You don’t need a computer telling you what to say or write because you’re capable of getting it done yourself. The next time you are assigned a project, do the right thing and complete it — yourself. Have faith in God and trust that you can get the job done on time and get it done right.

(Guadagnoli is a Grade 11 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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