(This is the second segment of a five-part narration of how committing plagiarism led me to heal a wound stemming back to my high school days. A recent plagiarism controversy involving Philippines Senator Tito Sotto and American blogger Sarah Pope reminded me of a similar offense that I committed while attending graduate school. Committing plagiarism needed to happen in order for me to heal a long-standing, 30-year old wound.)
What led to my plagiarism?
- Dissatisfaction with how the class was conducted
Truth be told, part of my lack of enthusiasm with writing the paper was how the class was conducted. I was getting frustrated because the class discussions centered too much on the theoretical part. There weren’t enough practical examples and day-to-day applications.
Sure I get that in order to understand how to apply Quantum Theory in daily living, we need to have a good grasp and fundamental understanding of its foundational concepts. So perhaps the real issue then was that one quarter wasn’t enough to have a substantial appreciation and in-depth coverage of the subject.
I also felt that the manner with which the topic was being discussed went against precisely what Quantum Theory is propagating — that there is more to reality than what our basic five senses can perceive. There’s something beyond the material world. Yet the limitations and the very confines of a traditional classroom setting coupled with the conventional academic system ran counterintuitive to the subject, especially since it was a major subject in relation to the program.
But it was graduate school after all and it was an accredited university at that. It wasn’t a mystery school or any other “woo-woo” type of learning institution. I raised these concerns with the appropriate school personnel including our professor. I’ve also had other realizations with regards to the educational system in general and as it relates to the healing arts but I don’t want to digress. I will share those insights in future posts.
- My newfound relaxed standards
With regards to addressing my perfectionist tendencies, earlier that year, I learned through a classmate that “B” is a good enough letter, just like “A”. Nadine, why can you not be happy with a B?
I decided that I was going to relax my standards. I wasn’t going to be too rigid in my ways especially when completing school assignments and requirements. With this new perspective, I wrote my paper haphazardly. I overlooked the fact though that there is still a level of responsibility and care that needs to go with the process.
- Too much going on
It was also a difficult time for me. I was having a hectic quarter. I had a full schedule and I was attending two schools. I was pursuing graduate studies at the same time completing a diploma program for a related degree in another school for the healing arts. I was rendering healing services at a metaphysical shop as part of my practicum and independent study. I was also going through some challenging times related to a romantic relationship.
I am not justifying my offense. I am not giving excuses for my lack of responsibility. But these were the circumstances surrounding my situation then.
I later found out that some of my classmates asked for an extension. With so many things going on then, I realized that I could have done the same thing. It was something I had never done and hadn’t thought was ever possible. After all, a deadline is a deadline. I was a perfectionist, remember?
So when I was writing my paper, with my newfound perspective and relaxed set of standards, coupled with my frustrations in class, and with too much going on, my heart wasn’t really into it. I just wanted to get it over with. It was a mere requirement that needed to be fulfilled.
It was so unlikely of me and inconsistent with how I had written all my previous papers. In my desire to just finish and submit it, I didn’t do a thorough job, not only of writing it, but editing the material as well.
So without meaning to, I committed plagiarism in the process. Intentional or not though, plagiarism is plagiarism.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is often viewed as copying someone else’s work. But what exactly is the definition of plagiarism?
Plagiarism is defined as “passing off another’s ideas as your own. It includes the following three items: (1) failing to credit the source for borrowed ideas, (2) failing to properly cite borrowed language, and (3) failing to alter the language and sentence structure of the source when paraphrasing or summarizing” (Santos, 1984, p. 405).
I committed all three forms of plagiarism. Three out of three. Great! A “perfect” score again! Even with committing an offense, I was excelling and still being a perfectionist!
In all seriousness though, little did I know that Pandora’s box was about to be opened. It’s a box so deep that it went back all the way to my high school days. A 30-year old wound was being brought to the surface for healing and it was such a transformative experience.
To be continued
References and related articles:
Ribaya, R. (2012). Blogger: Sotto a ‘lying thief’; solon’s staff admits shortcoming. Retrieved August 20, 2012 from Yahoo! News Philippines website: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogger–sotto-a–lying-thief—solon-s-staff-admits-shortcoming.html
Santos, M. (1984). Plagiarism. New York: Random House.
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