Writing is...personal freedom...writers will write...to survive as individuals.
~ Don Delillo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Appeal to Students Paying Writers for Academic Essays and Other Papers

Paying a writing site or someone else to write for you is academic dishonesty.

I am one of the online world's struggling writers. I admit serving like a prostitute to students who claim having a hard time writing their essays, thesis, dissertations, and whatever else they need to write. I suppose these students' academic orgasms come after getting their grade from a professor or a degree from an institution. 

It seems that, in spite of efforts to counter plagiarism, not a few teachers and learning organizations are oblivious to the fact that a number of their enrolled clients have paid someone else to write their papers. There are certainly policies against academic dishonesty, but do these people really care if the papers submitted by their students are written by others?

Why Did I Write Academic Essays and Other School Papers? 

I got into academic writing sites hoping to get gigs to help me pay bills and support my kid's education. The end does not justify the means, yes, but when it comes to survival the gray area between questionable bad and good principles leans towards the dark. I am ashamed, of course, but I don't have the right to condemn writers who have been sailing in the same boat. 

My writer friends who are not into this kind of writing console me by saying that I am just providing a service, but the unethical conduct rests on the students who are technically cheating their professors and their school as well. Do I agree with them? The mere fact that I described myself as "like a prostitute" earlier means I also find this work unethical, akin to acting as an accessory to the crime. Thus, I won't recommend it to any writer even if it's one of the income-generating options available both offline and online.
 
Student Customers of Academic Essay Writing Sites  

Who are these clients? I am not going to name names here, but there are plenty of these students from all over the globe. Yeah, some students are enrolled in Ivy League schools, state universities, community colleges, and high schools in rich and poor countries.

Did I just say "poor"? Yeah, I did. Not because a country is labeled poor, that doesn't mean there are no elites in these areas. Only Mama Nature doesn't care if you're rich or not when disaster strikes, but society gives a damn when it comes to a person's bank account and it doesn't give a hoot if one doesn't have it.

The students I "served" are undoubtedly capable of paying other people for such a service. A parent or an adult colleague with a credit card might be helping them as well because of customers who are still in high school. Academic writing sites require payments via credit cards which is the preferred online payment transaction unless one has a PayPal account or a debit card.

Not a few clients I wrote for have Arabic sounding names who study in the United States. This does not mean, however, that Arabic students are not capable of writing or doing their own paper because there are also clients with Anglo-Saxon names. There are also students who belong to immigrant families living in English speaking countries aside from the United States. I have had clients from Australia and Abu Dhabi as well.

The clients are not limited to undergraduates and high school students. There are also post-graduate students or those who are done with their bachelor degrees and are pursuing either a master's degree or a doctorate degree. There are even those who commission writers to work on conference papers and/or journal articles. I now wonder how many professors, conference speakers, researchers, and self-proclaimed experts have really written their own work.  

Reasons for Paying Writers 

I am not privy to the real reasons why these students would rather pay someone else to write for them. Based on my email exchanges with these clients (through third party agencies) and from the views of professional writers who frown upon academic writers, the whys include: 

  •  A busy social life
    I have written papers for students whose names are indicated on the files they uploaded as reference materials. Some were unhappy about a previous writer's work so they want another person to revise it. 

    Unfortunately for these kids, I googled their names and found out that they are active in several organizations in their schools or other projects. These data are based on school newsletters, as well as their profiles on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.  Not a bad thing to get involved and to participate in extra-curricular activities, but it is obvious they would rather socialize than work on their assignments.  

    Students who are reading this might realize that they should be careful from now on with regard to the materials they upload in academic writing sites. People who own these businesses can disclose to your institutions that you have contacted them for writing services.

    There are also writers who may have disguised themselves as willing servants, but would report you to your professors. Have I done that? Nope. I could've done so when a client refused to pay for my hard work. I surmised it's not worth the trouble.

    I believe in karma. These students can get away with cheating now, but they will suffer from a different trouble later on which they might fail to connect with academic cheating, but it's part of it. No one wants to be cheated anyway, yet everyone is capable of doing it based on one's decision to do so.  

    •  A busy job 
    This goes to employed post-graduate students who claim that they lack the time to write their proposals, as well as the thesis/dissertation itself. They would rather focus on their work for not doing so could cost them their income, as well as the privilege to pursue their studies. A post-graduate degree is supposed to help increase one's market value, with some aiming to secure a promotion. 

    •  Lack of writing skills
      A friend once told me that there are people who pay others to write for them because they can't write or have poor writing skills. There are people who claim to have written this or that book but they also have paid someone else to do that job for them. I wonder how many autobiographies are written by ghost writers. 

      Some say hiring a ghost writer isn't cheating because the latter has sold the intellectual rights to her/his work even if primary data were provided by a client. It's a business transaction. There's a demand for a writing job and a writer supplies the product. 

      Lack of writing skills can be overcome, however. I don't consider myself as a good writer, but how I write now is a far cry from how I used to write when I was younger. It does take time and a lot of reading time to learn how to write. 

      • Lack of confidence to comply with writing standards
      There are clients who are able to write their essays and papers, but they are unsure if their writing adheres to the standards set by their professors, an academic panel, a conference organizer, a graduate school, or a journal publisher. Aside from the text, there are citation styles - MLA, APA, Harvard, Turabian/Chicago, Vancouver, etc. - that should be followed. 

      Sadly, many writing sites don't require clients to pay for the reference pages when this section requires attention to details. Formatting each entry to conform with citation guidelines takes time and effort as well. Obviously, student clients dislike doing this part even if it's important to complete a paper (unless otherwise instructed).


      Students, take time to read English books to help you learn how to write.

      What Students Should Think About Before Paying Writers

      If you are going to pay someone else for your academic essays and papers, please consider reflecting on these questions:

      1. Are you really sure you want someone else to write for you and you don't want to learn how to write yourself?

      2. If you get a failing mark, who should you blame? Yourself or the writer you paid? If you blame the writer, do you think that is fair? 

      3. If you're really sure that it's okay for you to pay someone else to write for you, do you expect your writer to have all the means and resources to do the research? Or would it be better for you to provide the references yourself so that your writer can focus on reading and writing? 

      4. Would you be willing to take time to read your writer's work before submitting it? Would you not even consider just using the paper as your guide and not submit it as your own work even if you paid for it? 

      5. If you were your professor or an owner of a private school, how would you feel if you find out that your students have been deceiving you? 

      6. Do you think you'd be genuinely happy with your performance as a student knowing that you have paid another person to write your paper for you? 

      7. When you become a parent, would you advise your child to pay other people and cheat like you did instead of teaching them the value of learning how to write well? 

      8. Do you have any idea how much academic writing sites pay their writers to work for you? Do you know that many of these sites pay their writers a measly amount and that you - the student client - are actually making a bunch of non-writers rich instead?

      Kids, the bottomline here is that paying other people to write for you may benefit you in the short term, but it certainly is disadvantageous to you in the long run. There are risks involved in academic dishonesty. It could ruin your reputation and mar what could have been a good future for you.

      If you find it hard to write (and speak) in English, invest in attending courses or classes that are meant to help you achieve fluency. If your budget is limited, borrow books from the library and read. Set time to read articles, books, poems, or whatever that you find interesting. Reading can help you write. Learn to like reading and make it part of your hobbies. It's also a good exercise for your brain to keep it healthy.

      Other steps include listening to music and watching films in English, although there are lyrics and ideas that may have wrong grammar or poor sentence structure. There is no harm in trying to write - even if that meant frustrating your teacher. At best, you've submitted an honest work. 

      And yes, you would do many writers some good if you stop paying them to write for you, especially when you have to pay a third party for that. Oftentimes, these academic sites are cheating you the way they cheat writers by paying them a poor rate per page.

      You also shouldn't blame other people if you get a failing grade or a poor mark for a written work done by someone you paid. It would've been different if you, yourself, wrote that piece. You might get a failing grade too, but that's better than wasting money on a piece of work that should have taught you something in the first place if you just took the time to read, learn, and write.

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      2 comments:

      Anonymous said...

      pretty nicely written...whats the best way to connect to you..i am not a student but i think i may have some writing jobs for you.

      Leann Zarah said...

      Hi, Anonymous. Thanks for dropping by and reading this post.

      You may send your inquiries to leannzarah@gmail.com.