By Aleena Zirvi ('22)
Every student, at some point in their academic journey, will, without a doubt, be asked to share their notes or answers to an assignment. This, unfortunately, is inevitable. However, doing so is considered plagiarism which can be followed by severe consequences.
Short term, it seems easiest to just send the homework. Long term, once an individual agrees to share their work, peers expect them to continue doing so. Yes, it may get them off of their back for the time being, however, it does more harm than good in the long run.
English I teacher Mr. James Noebels explained, “The big reason is plagiarism. What a lot of students don't remember is equal punishment-both people get in trouble because it’s academic dishonesty.”
According to Chapman University, Academic dishonesty can be vaguely categorized or referred to as cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism.
Freshman Victoria Cohen explained, “If they're too lazy to do their work they're going to be too lazy to change my words and even if they do change it somehow it won't be proper paraphrasing, it'll be synonyms here and there and a teacher will obviously notice.”
In the SBHS student handbook it says that academic dishonesty can result in a zero on the assignment, suspension or additional consequences that can be decided by administration and will be marked on the student’s discipline record.
While one finds it easier to give in, a habit is being formed by the other individual which is hard to rid of at a later point.
Mr. Noebels emphasized, “You're enabling someone...You’re feeding that habit. It's taking away from yourself. It's devaluing the work that you do.”
Not only does this allow them to succeed without even trying, but it also takes away from the recognition one deserves. Realizing all of this is the easy part. The hard part is what comes next.
Mr. Noebels said, “The first thing you have to do is be brave enough to say ‘No, do your own work’. It's as simple as that.”
Communicating one’s answer from the beginning is the most effective method of prevention in this scenario.
Knowing what to say in situations is a key factor in all of this. One must be able to decline while also making sure not to damage that same relationship. The easiest way out is to have a few “canned excuses” on hand.
Telling a friend that one is “out at the moment” or “left the work in a locker” are simple ways to get out of sticky situations but are also noticeably overused and can be easily sniffed out as untruthful.
Although the idea of not wanting to risk damaging relationships in the process is understandable, it should not take precedence over other factors.
Mr. Noebels suggested, “If it means someone's going to be mad at you then you can explain ‘Hey, listen, I've done the work I don't think it's fair that you get to procrastinate it and now you get to reap the benefits of my work’.”
In addition to this, depending on the wording of the message and the nature of the actual assignment, one could always send the actual homework assignment -- not the answers. For example, respond with which questions were assigned or the worksheet given, something along those lines.
An article posted to The Muse states, “The key to crafting a gentle ‘no’ is to include an alternative form of support.”
Mr. Noebels said, “I don't think you should ever let them see your work. What you can [do] is say [that you have] done the work, what can I do to help you?”
Likewsie, Cohen said “I can help you do the work and learn the information because at the end of the day I'm not going to be there to take the test or do the classwork for you.”
A respectable alternative to giving in is explaining to a friend how this conflicts with one’s own priorities. Explaining the stress one is already enduring may guilt trip them into easing off of an individual for the time-being, as well as the future. Making a friend aware of one’s current situation would certainly hint at them needing to take back their request and improve their relationship, simultaneously.
Mr. Noebels concluded, “The reward does not outweigh the risk.”