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I am a first-year Physics student and I decide to challenge myself by taking a Math course that's well above my level. I was doing pretty well during the first half of the semester with offline lectures and was averaging an A. Until another wave of Covid hit and I have to spend the rest of the semester online.

My mental health was failing toward the end of the semester, I could clearly feel it as my insomnia and trichotillomania got worst day by day. I refuse to study and just listen to podcasts every day, and since it is my first year I barely have the chance to actually make any study group or have any friends that study with me. The day of my finals is the day I decide to make such poor a decision of using an online help website to aid with my exams, which I am clearly not proud of. After the exam, I deemed it as failed because I gain very little knowledge and also because of my dishonest action.

As expected, I received an email regarding my academic misconduct 2 days later, as such, I wrote an email back to them admitting my mistake, apologies, and accepting repercussions. In a few days, I receive an email that states that my grade will be deducted (Which result in a failure), and this decision will be recorded in the Register of Academic Misconduct.

At present, all I could feel is resentment and disappointment toward myself. I'm nowhere near as gifted as my peers in the field but I'm trying to stay firm on this path. I'm aware that academic dishonesty is a serious thing and my future career could be damaged by this incident. What should I do during the next few years of my study? Because I know this is just going to get worst and I know that I can't continue if I don't change. Furthermore, how much damage will a record of academic misconduct have to my academic career? And will I be able to continue in the future? Thank you for reading and sharing.

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    You should talk with your personal tutor/academic guidance person/whatever local equivalent you have, as they will know the situation at your university better than we do. But in general, it's your first year: work hard and don't cheat again. You have learned a valuable lesson. Dec 22, 2021 at 11:50

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It is hard to predict long term effects, but it is fairly common, in the US at least, for such behavior to be punished locally but no long term record communicated outside, even if it is kept.

Some places (most?) keep records for repeat offenders to be caught, but it may be that only the university will ever know unless you broadcast it. There may be no indication of this on transcripts, for example, other than the grade. But policies differ.

It would be good to know whether that is the case or not. Whoever dishes out the punishment can probably tell you about that.

For the mental health aspects, find a way to talk to a counsellor/professional. You don't want to kick yourself longer or harder than necessary.

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I understand you to have aspired to something, to have made a forgivable mistake in the way you pursue your aspiration, to have been found out, to have apologized, to understand the morals of it, and to have accepted the consequences.

Do not think you are unusual: we all "have skeletons in our cupboards". Therefore do not take on a burden of guilt that you then carry with you and unnecessarily admit to people who are more interested in your future than your past. This is important for your own image.

It is human to err. Learn the lesson, don't do it again, and look optimistically to the future with whatever qualifications you honestly gain.

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