I am new University student, in software engineering program. I was FALSLY accused in plagiarism in my second semester and it resulted in a 0 on the assignment of course. I believe a student copied my code while on an online study group I initiated, but because I was pregnant and gave birth a couple of days after the accusation, I didn't have it in me to fight it, as I needed to appeal and the whole process would have taken probably a couple of months and I couldn't take the stress.

So I just took the punishment and "admitted" I plagiarized. Needless to say, it was the most stressful, terrifying time in my life, I thought my academic career is over for good. Of course, I learned from my mistake and I stopped helping people through study sessions all togather as I have my family I need to think about, and as I have two babies and I am exhausted all the time it is very easy for me to not pay attention to things. But since then, I am absolutely traumatized and can't stop trying to think whether or not this might have happened to me before and I just happned to not get caught and the thought about this possibility is absolutly killing me and I find my self up at night thinking about it and it is really starting to destroy my life.

My question is, and it's only an hypothetical question as I only started with the study sessions that semster and stopped immediatly after being accused, what happens if god forbid someone coppied my code in a different course before and we just were not caught for some reason? do universities usually go back to check old submittions for plagiarism?

I am absolutly terrified, so much so that I am considering dropping out. I know my fear is not rational but I can't control my thoughts and it's driving me crazy, I need some reasurance. I am terrified to work so hard for my degree, just to have it revoked by the university at a later point.

By the way, I take full responsiblity for my mistake, I realize that I should have never put myself in a position where I was at risk to accidently share my code with another student.

  • 3
    Please talk to your doctor about post-partum anxiety. This is a condition exacerbated by the hormonal changes due to giving birth. Your post bears many tell-tale markers. Do not worry about old assignments, do worry about getting a mental health screening by a qualified professional.
    – Dawn
    May 14, 2020 at 19:06
  • Well, my family's future solely depands on me and on finishing my degree, this is why I am so stressed.
    – Merry
    May 14, 2020 at 19:09
  • 2
    Sure - all the more reason to increase your resources by talking to a professional. When you talk about racing thoughts keeping you from sleeping that is a classic sign of PPA. Dealing with that will decease your exhaustion and increase your ability to be there for your family!
    – Dawn
    May 14, 2020 at 19:22
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    If there is no assessment offence in the future, you should be fine. As mentioned in below's comment, I recommend actually having your case revisited, once your worst stress has passed. Be careful in future who you work with. You were clearly taken advantage of. There should be a student support centre that can help you. This is part of any good university student service and it is your right to use it. Good luck! May 14, 2020 at 19:54
  • Did this plagiarism charge happen since early to mid March of this year?
    – Buffy
    May 14, 2020 at 20:16

2 Answers 2


Don’t worry,

Just don’t do it or anything like it again.

You were punished for that infraction and they expect better of you now. As a lecturer I don’t go back through all old submissions as I don’t have time..

Just do your best from now on and don’t give up.

Best wishes.

  • 1
    Thank you I appreciate it. I will defintly not do this again, But do you think universities have a department that does that (go through old submissions)?
    – Merry
    May 14, 2020 at 19:33
  • 1
    @Merry none of the universities I have been at, either as a student or a lecturer, has a department for that but that does not mean it is impossible.
    – Solar Mike
    May 14, 2020 at 19:36
  • 4
    I've been through 5 universities in my career. None does that. It is difficult as is to catch up with the current workload. If we had to go back and retrospectively check old submissions, we would go crazy. Don't punish yourself anymore.
    – electrique
    May 14, 2020 at 20:56

[Since my comment was well enough liked to be kindly salvaged from a deleted answer by @Dawn, I will expand it to a response]

Please, no, don't drop out!

Especially if it was your help to a student that caused you to be tainted by that black mark of plagiarism.

Your story is very sad, because I am in favour of helping people, but clearly, someone else gained and you lost.

Personally, I would suggest going to the ombudsperson and explain that, due to the stress of childbirth, you felt under duress and have admitted falsely to plagiarism.

In our times, there is so much emphasis on fairness and creating a welcoming environment to all kinds of people in all kinds of situations, so academic services and profs should by now understand better how stressful pregnancy is. Any self-respecting university should give you a chance of reopening the case.

Even if not, basically look after yourself in the future, you should not pay the cost for helping others.

But, first and foremost, don't drop out! Certainly not for this.

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