Of course you shouldn’t lie, cheat, or steal. And yes, outright plagiarism is cheating and stealing.
There’s a whole other interesting conversation to be had about what it means to be original — and Austin Kleon has already had most of it for us — but I think we can all agree that submitting an essay you didn’t write for a grade is wrong.
But that’s not really what I want to focus on now. Instead, I want to take another swing at the systemic effects of 20-plus years of inculcating 21st-century students with an industrial-age version of academic integrity, especially when nearly all of them won’t turn pro as academics.
The message schools are trying to send is, “Don’t cheat.” But the way it’s usually taught is, “Don’t collaborate.” And that sets everyone up for a much more difficult path to adulthood than necessary.
Be original by all means. But don’t think you have to do it alone.