Starting way back in elementary school we were taught to not take things that do not belong to us. While in elementary school teachers were referring more to physical belongings, high school teachers and professors are talking about an author’s words and ideas. When it reaches the college level the consequences for plagiarism can get pretty serious. Sometimes students are given a zero for the assignment and in the most serious cases they can be expelled from school.
One thing that I don’t understand is this: how can you plagiarize your- self? Plagiarism is taking an author’s words or ideas and using them as your own, how can you steal your own work? I can understand that teachers do not want a student to use one pa- per for multiple assignments, but every teacher is different so there are different requirements that have to be met and the paper would most likely have to be altered.
In an article that I recently read in The Chronicle of Higher Education James M. Lang, a professor of English at Assumption College, said “The opportunity to reuse a paper might arise only once or twice in a student’s career, thanks to the diversity of our course assignments and disciplines.” So I do not see the harm in being able to reuse a paper as long as the student makes the necessary changes to fit with the class assignment. Having another chance to fix a paper and receive fresh feedback from a different teacher and new class- mates can help students become better writers.
I understand that plagiarism is wrong but taking our own work and making it better does not seem to go along with plagiarizing. I believe that we should be able to give that paper another shot to see what we as writers can do to turn a good paper into a great paper.
Alicia is a devoted psychology major and history minor who is trying to keep her head on her shoulders while balancing school and work.