Plagiarism: laziness or not?

By Ryan Mulloy
October 24, 2002

Angelina Wagner

Ryan Mulloy

To simply say that plagiarism is for the lazy is by far the laziest excuse of them all. Plagiarism may be the crime of the lazy student, but trust me it is not exclusive to a lazy individual. It is not that cut and dry. Everyone would love an answer for plagiarism, but to simply say, “Oh well it’s got to be laziness” is just sad.

I am not every person on campus. I follow my own schedule and it’s hard enough. But imagine someone who has a lot on his or her plate. This person is a fictional female student taking 18 credits, working an internship and commuting because of family situations. School and life in general can get hectic for anyone and before she knows it, she has papers due and not enough time to do them. We’ve all been there.

With no time to hit the library, she takes information from the Internet, puts it in her paper and runs off to do a million other things. Is that lazy? No. She’s a student trying to get one thing done so she has time to deal with the rest of her workload.

Take for example a guy who has to do a paper and cite his work. He needs two Internet, two resource and two journal pieces, but he’s run his limit. The paper is complete but not good enough, so the guy steal something to carry the paper, and he ends up plagiarizing one line. When he gets busted, is it because he is lazy? Of course not. He wants to be the best at what he does.

There are other cases to worry about. When students arrive at Cabrini, they take English 101 and basically learn that they have no idea how to cite a paper. In some cases, an incorrect cite is considered plagiarism. What doesn’t help is that students need to get things like cites and footnotes down in about three papers in English 101, then they better know it for the rest of their lives. Sometimes people actually need to be taught these things, because reading something is just not the same.

My counterpart is well aware of my argument here, and I stand by it. To some students, college is a game. Hell, life is a game. What did Jesse Ventura used to say? “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.” College is essentially a last chance for a lot of people. They have something to prove because, like I said, the real world is about four steps away from our door. If you still don’t have it down, you’re going to get frustrated.

Students want to win the game with all they have, and unfortunately, some think that cheating it the only way they can do it. They’re not lazy, they just don’t know any better. If this is your last chance to shine and make an impression so you can land a job that gets you somewhere, aren’t you going to do whatever is necessary to be the best?

People who cheat like this aren’t always lazy. Lazy people plagiarize all of the time. But it is just plain ignorant or stubborn to say that plagiarism is exclusive to lazy students.

Leanne Pantone

One word says it all: LAZY. People who plagiarize or cheat are just plain lazy.

Sure, finding someone else’s words to replace yours from the Internet does take time and effort, and I have heard that sometimes plagiarizing takes more time than actually doing the work for oneself. However, if one does actually take all that extra, wasted time into cheating, then he or she neglects to use his or her brain. This person is LAZY.

Using your brain does take perhaps some extra time and effort; it is much like exercising, using your muscles to work harder than they normally would. The payoff, however, is greater in the end. Using your muscles to exercise makes one feel good, refreshed and energized. Using your brain to come up with original, creative and/or innovative ideas makes one feel satisfied, intelligent and productive.

There are other ways of cheating or plagiarizing than just passing off someone else’s idea for your own. Some students do not know how to cite sources, thus causing them to appear to be a cheater/plagiarizer.

I believe plagiarism as a result of something like this is lazy as well. We are all adults and know how to read. There are books for citing sources in almost every type of style: MLA, APA, AP, etc. These styles are also available for FREE on the Internet.

Failure to look up these styles and turn in a paper with the correct citations on it is LAZY. It does not take a lot of time to put a little extra effort into doing this, which leaves no excuse if this is not done properly.

My counter point will argue that, for some, college is like a game. In a game, some will do anything that they can to win. Whether that means cheating to win, it is all up to the player. That would then mean that cheating or plagiarism is not a result of being lazy, it is simply a survival mechanism.

To this I would say that cheating to win a game could possibly be a result of being lazy; taking the easy way out and not having to work, really work, for that win. The easier and less painful or LAZY way to win is simply to cheat.

Cheating in a game situation also has its repercussions. Take Pete Rose for example; he cheated by throwing games to win some bets. The result: he is not allowed to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. All because he was lazy and did not want to work for the extra money that he was winning.

Cheating in school should also be punished appropriately and uniformly. Since we complain about wanting to be taken seriously and be a part of the real world, it is about time that we start stepping up and acting the way we want to be treated. That is by working for what we get, honestly and fairly.

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Ryan Mulloy

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