By Naomi | Subscribe: bit.ly/sub2storybooth | Record your story @ storybooth.com or our iPhone app for a chance to get animated. Comment, like, share this story.
Naomi was always a good student, and took her classwork seriously, and her grades. At the end of middle school, in eight grade English class, the teacher gave them a creative writing assignment. Their homework was to be a real writer and go home and write a poem to present to the rest of the class.
The teacher gave the class three weeks to really think about it and work on it and write the poem, but for Naomi it was just three long weeks of procrastinating. She just couldn't pull any of her ideas together.
She really couldn't think of anything, and either she was bad at writing poems, or like a lot of famous writers, she just had writer's block. No matter what, she was unmotivated and uninspired and this had grown into way more than just a homework assignment - it overwhelmed her.
Finally, with just a day left, she went on Google and looked up poems and famous writers, because, well, she wanted to cheat. She knew plagiarism was wrong, and she had never copied any famous writers before or plagiarized anything, but she was frustrated and desperate, and, at the time, she didn't think she'd get caught.
The one key fact that she conveniently forgot was that at her school (and probably most schools) the teachers were very big on doing your own original work and never copying, or cheating on tests or homework, or stealing other people's ideas. Plagiarizing, especially copying a famous writer for your homework, was a major offense. But, she wasn't thinking about getting caught, she was just thinking about getting her homework assignment done.
She searched around on Google and found the perfect poem by a perfectly famous writer. She changed a coupe of words here and there - not that that did much good - and she just went ahead and printed up and turned it in.
The next day in class the teacher went around handing the poems back to the class BUT she skipped Naomi. It was pretty clear, she got caught and there was nothing she could do. Then the teacher asked her to join her in the hall and that was that. She burst into tears and was so embarrassed and ashamed of herself for plagiarizing and copying a famous writer. She got busted.
She got a referral, which is like part of your permanent school record, and lunchtime detention for a week, but her teacher was really sweet and understanding. Naomi just crumbled under the pressure and made a super bad choice. Her teacher said she could take another try and write a new original poem and that she would just deduct ten points from the grade for her little brush with plagiarism and getting caught.
Her dad was really upset about it and he gave her a long talking to, and the detention gave her a lot of time to think about it. She learned her lesson - never copy other people's work or plagiarize - and to just breathe and put in the work and effort.
She worked really hard to make sure her next poem was good, but also didn't get all crazy about it, and she really liked what she wrote and got a good grade on it too!
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