I apologize in advance for such a long and possibly bizarre question. I have tried to find an answer to this issue but could not find it anywhere. First I want to provide some context.
I was a student taking an alternate high school education program to the one my area’s schoolboard offered. This program administers standardized assessments on an international scale and awards a diploma upon completion. For a report that I submitted in this program, I remember being worried that I may have violated academic integrity rules. The program punishes plagiarism sternly when proven (the guilty loses their diploma or the ability to earn it + receives a grade of 0 in the subject for which the report was submitted) and can apply punishments retroactively, although examples of this are very rare.
After submission, I remember asking my teacher on several occasions about concerns I had with my paper, which, in retrospect, I should have asked before submission. Each time, the teacher said that what I had done was not a violation. I asked questions about this so often because my handling of references was so dubious in that report that I kept finding new problems with it.
I was so obsessed and anxious about this issue for months. I was extremely worried and consumed by the feeling that my future was in jeopardy and this made me spend hours daily examining my report for issues, doing research about plagiarism, etc. whilst rehearsing my "defenses" for perceived infringements in the report.
Eventually, I was able to move on with support from family and friends. Nothing ultimately ever came of the submission of that report; I completed the program and successfully got into university the year after and received an admissions scholarship. At the time I was happy about this and the issue of my report was not really on my mind.
Currently, I’m going into my senior year of undergrad. By all measures, I have been cautious to a fault when it comes to academic integrity in all my time as a university student, so I believe I learned my lesson. However, whenever I get reminded of the report, I become very worried, like I have been for the last few weeks.
The reason that I feel worried is because there were a few unresolved concerns that I never brought up, mostly because I felt regret for pestering my teacher who had been exceedingly patient. I worry about it now because there was an idea/technique used in the report that I feel I should have referenced (before, I thought that the idea I used was “obvious” and didn’t need to be referenced). I say “feel” because I am going by my fallible recollection of what I did several years ago. The program does somewhat vet these reports through graders (the teachers) and plagiarism checkers.
Although I would say it is incredibly unlikely for me to be retroactively punished for that report, I feel as if I deserve to be penalized because I do not have confidence that that report was tolerable from an academic integrity standpoint. If I lost my diploma and the university was notified of it now or in the future, I fear that the university could respond in turn by expelling me, revoking my degree, depriving me of my scholarships, etc. But that is speculation on my part, I don't know what the university would do about that. That it is really unlikely that this outcome would occur is not reassuring, because I honestly cannot bear the thought that the university I attend would boot me if it was ever notified that I had been stripped of my diploma, which is perhaps what I deserve.
I feel terrible because I just want to earn my degree with a clear conscience and I feel that that is not possible given what happened in the past. Frankly, this whole issue makes me feel like there’s no point in working hard anymore because I may not even deserve to attend my university to begin with. Whenever I get reminded about this issue I worry about it for weeks at a time until I'm too busy to worry about it. I cannot take this anymore; I really need some help and insight if anyone could offer that.