Hey! That’s What I Said!
College is fun, but there is a dark side to college that you never hear about. In my first year, there was a student who sat beside me in class and proceeded to make my life miserable. I had given her my phone number so she could get in touch with me for a study group we both belonged to. That was my first mistake. When the group compared grades on our first assignment, she was amazed at my high scores. This young woman immediately began texting and calling me at all hours, presumably to ask questions about upcoming essays for class. But each phone call got progressively more panicked, she did not have enough time, she did not understand the work, she was in danger of failing this class–and school! It was overwhelming, I felt sorry for her plight, but had a funny feeling about it. She never came right out and asked me to do her homework, but I have raised three kids. I know when a kid is trying to invoke pity, guilt, whatever, so you will do their homework for them. I never fell for it then, and did not fall for it with her. I tried explaining that I had other classes, a family, and other matters that needed my attention. I suggested a tutor on campus. It did not stop. Each day in class, she would ask the professor for another extended deadline, and ask me so many questions–about her assignment, that I had no time to do my own. She called and texted constantly, even when I told her I was in another city to watch my daughter perform. It did not matter to her what I had going on, or what I had to do, she wanted me to do her homework for her.
No good deed goes unpunished. I wanted to help her, but that ended abruptly when during a class discussion, she presented her research topic–which was actually MY research topic. I was amazed that she had the nerve to take my idea, but there was not much I could do about it. When our class listed the research references we planned to use–her list was an exact copy of mine! She had been sitting beside me at the library and when I left the table to get an article, she copied my research materials. I felt like I had been robbed. She fully intended to duplicate my hard work and turn it in as her own. I called the professor and explained what happened. We both agreed that I would stop taking calls and texts, drop out of the study group, and write my paper as planned. I was the better student and knew that I would write the better paper, but still…I was angry. I had to be purposely vague during class discussions which kept me from getting the valuable feedback from my classmates that could have helped me. I could not ask anyone in class for their opinion, because I did not trust anyone. When other students would ask for my advice or opinion, I declined, afraid of having my work stolen again. She not only took my work, she made it impossible for me to be a part of the class.
At times, the only thing you have in life of your own, are your ideas. It takes me a long time to come up with ideas for projects at school. But I can honestly say, they are my ideas. It never occurred to me that some students do not care if the points they argue are their own or not. I am just grateful that I can state my opinions and have others consider what I am saying. I am glad that a classmate, or professor thinks my words are important enough to listen to. Every grade I get, is a grade that I worked for and earned, not something that was cut and pasted from another persons work. I may not always get the highest score in class, but my work is original. I would not want it any other way.
The research project in my English class went well for me. The peer reviews on my presentation were all positive, I got one of the three highest grades! The final paper got an A. And the girl who thought it was easier to copy my work…..I am not sure of her final grade, but she did not look happy as she left the class on the last day.