The Advice Column THE VOICE - September 25, 2002

Dear Sandra;

I’ve had it! I’m on my third extension and I’m running out of time. Now I know why students are tempted to copy assignments from others.

I’m having such a hard time with this course project; I just don’t know what to do. I went to a website that sells essays, and I’m thinking of buying one. What do you think the chances are that I will get caught?

On Overload

Dear On Overload;

Have you ever of heard of the phrase if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen? There are only so many hours in the day and only so many things that we can accomplish. Obviously you are doing too much and you need to get your priorities straight. You never said what it is that is keeping you from finishing courses on time; I am assuming work, family, course overload, personal problems or maybe a combination of some or all of these are factors.
The whole purpose of going to university is to learn, if you cheat yourself out of learning by taking on too much this purpose is defeated. The only way to learn is to do the work yourself. You may get away with cheating on this one course project, and you may not. If you get away with cheating on this course project, you may be tempted to do it again and again and again. How can you really learn this way? Sure you may get your degree, but how easy will it be to perform the job you get with this degree if you have cheated your way through school? As for getting caught, is it worth the risk? How can you be assured that this essay you buy will be of the utmost quality? You usually only get to read the first few sentences, how do you know the rest of the essay won’t be a flop? If you haven’t studied the course material, how do you know the information present in these on-line essays for sale is even accurate? How do you know that students before you haven’t bought and handed in the exact same essay? Yes, the chances for that are slim, but the consequences for getting caught are not worth it. The consequences of Academic Misconduct that AU lists on it’s website are: rejection of submitted work, failing grade, expulsion from an exam, expulsion from a course, expulsion from a program, expulsion from the University, reprimand, academic probation, suspension, and legal action. Visit the website for more information.
So basically, my opinion boils down to telling you that cheating is not the way to go. What you need to do is either slow down, take fewer courses or come to the realization that university, for most of us, is difficult and time consuming and changes may be needed to your life style in order for you to finish school.

This column is for entertainment only. Sandra is not a professional counsellor, but is an AU student who would like to give personal advice about school and life to her peers. Please forward your questions to Sandra care of

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