You have always been a good student, but the stress of keeping your grades up at a competitive school like Duke is really taking its toll. You've begun procrastinating on important tasks. You're not getting enough sleep, you're surviving on junk food, and you've even started drinking on school nights to try to relieve the stress. (It's not easy taking notes and participating in class when you're hung over.) Now it’s midnight on Sunday night and you have to turn in a paper tomorrow by 8 a.m. You've had so much work to do for your other classes that you've barely started. You have an outline and start writing, but after a few hours you begin to realize that there's no way you're going to get this paper done in time. You feel trapped: you're under so much pressure to get an A in this class! In desperation, you find one of those “stress-free” term paper websites promising "original ideas and supporting sources." Amazingly, there's a paper available on your topic. At this point, you're thinking, maybe buying a paper is your only hope.
Buy a term paper through the internet.
You risk: Suspension or expulsion, a failing grade for the assignment or course, and a notation on your record. Disciplinary action is part of your disciplinary record for four years after you graduate (or eight years from your date of matriculation), and, if you are suspended or expelled, the suspension or expulsion is permanently noted on your transcript. If it's a first and minor offense, your professor may choose to resolve the matter with you outside of the judicial process.
There are also important personal risks in such decisions: your self-regard begins to erode. You not only compromise the quality of the work you submit in a particular assignment, but over time you also compromise your values. Are your decisions -- even "small" ones, like using someone else's paper -- consistent with the kind of person you want to be?
Ask for an extension, and take the time to do it right.
You risk: a failing grade on the assignment, if your professor won't grant the extension.
To choose this option:
- E-mail your professor (or call or stop by), explain the situation, and ask for an extension on the deadline. (You can find a professor's email address, phone number and office location using the Duke Phonebook.)
- Keep in the mind that the penalty for turning in a paper late is far smaller than the penalty for plagiarism, even if it means a failing grade on the paper.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your professor for help. To get tips about how to talk to your professor, read Good Reasons to Meet With Your Professors from the Academic Skills Instructional Program (ASIP).
Consider counseling to help manage stress
Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) provides a number of valuable services to Duke students. CAPS counselors are there to listen to you, support you, and help you through stressful situations. Stress and substance abuse are often the triggers for decisions you might regret later -- like choosing to copy other people's work rather than submitting your own. Don't let it get to that point! Call 660-1000 to set up an appointment with a counselor.
Develop a personal time management schedule with an Academic Skills Instructor
Request a private conference with an instructor from the Academic Skills Instructional Program (it’s free!), who can help you develop a time management schedule that will work for you. Call the ASIP at 684-5917 to schedule an appointment. The ASIP also offers handouts ( You Too Can Beat Procrastination!) workshops for any group of undergraduates.
Seek pastoral counseling if needed
Campus Ministries offers pastoral counseling if you need to speak to a religious advisor. The Dean and Assistant Dean of the Chapel are available for formal counseling, or more informal listening, conversation, and spiritual advice.
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