don’t be a menace to society when plagiarizing your work in the ‘hood

A little update on my team-work situation from hell: After speaking with my instructor and crying in her office for an hour, and after signing my life away to take the course over through correspondance, and after having 2 wonderful clinical-mates threaten my life if I gave up, I got switched clinical groups for the remainder of the semester away from the teammate whom I will refer to in this post as the psycho-bitch-from-hell, or PBH for short.   However, in order for this to be done I had to attend a meeting with the group and some instructors to discuss the situation that warranted me being switch, which apparently never happens (I know that is false but whatever; what’s done is done and I am happy where I am now).

On Wednesday of this week myself and my former teammates (the ones who plagiarized but had the gaul to blame ME for the poor mark on our paper) met with our instructor, the year coordinator, and the head of our nursing program – a PhD, no doubt – to discuss the downfall of our group.  The meeting was originally going to happen on Monday, but since I was still in NYC with Corporate it had to be pushed to Wednesday at 8:30 am.  After completing an evening shift at the hospital it was a challenge to wake up so damn early and look presentable, but this was also my chance to completely defend myself and put my former teammates in their place, so I rose with the sun and went on my way.

I arrived 5 minutes early into a freezing cold room, no doubt that temperature in response to the heated arguments that were no doubt to follow, and to my instructor for the course.  We chatted until the year coordinator arrived, and we too chatted for a while.  Finally the head of nursing at our school arrived and of course we chatted.  PBH arrived 10 minutes late, said nothing and sat down 2.5 chair lengths away from me, all the while not looking at me at all.  1/2 an hour later – yes, 1/2 an hour after the meeting was to begin – our other team mate arrived and the meeting began.

It started off as I had expected:  all 3 ‘adults’ were ‘very disappointed’ with us and how we could not make the team work.  The course is about working with people and of course if you fail working with the people you were assigned to obviously it means you are incapable of working with ANYBODY in the real world and as such you are a menace to the nursing society at large.  Of course I know this is false; hell, I worked at a Jesus camp and I am not at all Churchy, and I’ve been working with people I don’t get along with since I was 16, but what do I know?  I’m just a stupid student.  Anyway after receiving that lecture we were told to go around the table and say what we could have done better to make the team work – not to make this a he said/she said/she said or he did/didn’t, she did/didn’t blow out.Fair enough.  

After snapping back to 3rd year university from the momentary relapse into kindergarten, I sighed internally and swallowed my pride and played their game.  I mean, I killed them with kindness after receiving advise to ‘drop out’ and got myself switched into the group I wanted, so chances are if I played the game again I would come out on top.  So I admitted my adversion to working with groups and my lone-wolf attitude and my laissez-faire style of relating with people; all factors that don’t always make me an easy person to be around.  I’ve always known this and admitted up front that this would be a problem for me, but according to my previous years in clinical I have worked well with others and had been improving.  The 3 instructors agreed with me and thanked me and told me to take away *blah blah blah*.

The second team mate had a moment and admitted that being the ‘monkey in the middle’ was not the best place to be, and that is true; it was a terrible place to be, stuck between two very strong willed women.  Communication was the issue he brought up and I agreed and so did the instructors.

Then PBH spoke up: in a nutshell, she said she didn’t do anything wrong.  She said she didn’t know what she could have done better because she had done everything and the other two (me and STM) had done nothing and knew nothing and made her holiday miserable.  She went on a mini-rant that she was so depressed through the holidays, and it was a stressful time for her, and that she did all the work, and that she was waiting for me to do stuff, and that I was unprepared, and that STM went behind her back and did things without her permission, and that if she had known that we were so unorganized and incompetent that she would do all the work herself, and that her councilor agreed with her perspective.

Now remember: the original point of this meeting was to discuss what each person could have done different.  We’re supposed to be talking about how US as individuals could do better.  So you can imagine my growing rage frustration at PBH during her soap-box rant.

At one point I said “LEAVE ME OUT OF THIS: you’re supposed to be talking about YOURSELF, not me and STM”.  Of course she ignored me and went on about how terrible things were for her.  To make things funnier, she went on and on about the paper – you know, the one they plagiarized?  She began to berate STM in a slew of jelly-fish insults, and STM just sat there and took it.  He sat there as she called him stupid, dishonest, disorganized… until I stepped in and yelled “STOP blaming him!  I made the decision NOT to hand in the paper; STOP getting mad at him, get mad at me.  Be mad at me!”

At this point our instructor stepped in and told PBH that her words were hurtful to STM, that he was being a gentleman and didn’t fight back, and that if she was working with PBH that SHE’D be scared to tell her anything that went against her wishes.  STM even went as far as to apologize 3 times and she not only ignored it, she continued to insult him.  I sat there in the middle and made eye contact with the PhD, who winked at me as to tell me “I understand” which was really nice.  I mean, who in their right mind would sit there and take such abuse?  Who can be expected to work in such a volatile situation and not come out on an anti-depressant regime?

Anyways this began an argument about how if my part wasn’t ready (not true) then they could have just handed in their part (that they plagiarized) into the instructor.  She went on to describe how terrible of a teammate I was until eventually I lost it;  I pulled out the hard copy of the report and yelled “NO.  I decided NOT to hand in the paper because you COPIED AND PASTED *slams the report on the table in front of the PhD who runs our program* and DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO CHANGE THE FONT”.  

I sat back in my chair ready to explode until the coordinator stopped the mele and the PhD said that she had to go; she wished STM good luck and said good bye to me, and our instructor took my hard copy and kept it her files for future reference.  I left and wished STM good luck – as I realized too late that the only way to work with PBH is to let her walk all over you and for you to obey everything she says.  Except Carrie don’t play like that; Carrie don’t take no shit… at least, without something to back it up. I can take arrogant people with 149 IQs – but I can’t take arrogant people who plagiarize their work while remaining the ‘queen bee’. 

This meeting did, however, restore my faith in karma.  I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing in relief when PBH told me about her terrible holiday, because she made me and STM feel like that the entire semester.  Whatever you put out there comes back times 3, and she got her due just in the nick of time. 

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~ by Carrie on January 28, 2008.

26 Responses to “don’t be a menace to society when plagiarizing your work in the ‘hood”

  1. Hey there- just caught your blog and I love it! The end of the meeting with PBH had all the flourish of a great Hollywood drama! You so “Brockoviched” the villian!

  2. Oooh, this post had me all hot just thinking about it. I’ve had a shitty experience with a group before. They assigned each group member a portion of the paper to write, and I gave them my first draft. I offered to help with the rest, but they just kept saying, “we’ve got it covered.” Whatever. I offered to at least proofread the thing because I’m excellent at spelling and grammar, and they said, again, “we’ve got it covered” (obviously they didn’t because the teacher marked all over their final draft with proofreader’s marks and notes about misspelled words). The DAY BEFORE the paper was due, they called me to say that they couldn’t use any of what I wrote (WTF? This info would’ve been nice WEEKS ago) and that they were giving me a 70 as a grade and giving themselves all 100’s and 105’s. WTF?!?!?

    I e-mailed the teacher about it and he made sure I got the same grade they did (which, incidentally, was a 50).

  3. Oh Lord… I can’t even imagine how your blood must have been boiling during this whole fiasco. This is why I despises group work throughout all of undergrad. I seriously hope the plagiarism gets followed up on!!!

  4. OMG is all I can say. I’ve never known anyone to plagarize in college. I hope everything works out for you.

    and yay for karma! 🙂

  5. Here here for being a quitter – some times the best thing you can do is tap out of a situation like that. I’m glad you stood up for yourself, what a nightmare!

    It doesn’t take those people long to be found out and to develop a reputation though, she’ll have to learn that sooner or later – and if she refuses to learn it until she’s trying to find a job.

  6. Oh my Lord! How you didn’t slap her right then and there is beyond me! You have a lot more restraint than I would’ve had in this situation! What a bitch!

  7. Your post reminded me of team essays and projects and how much I hated working with people who do very little yet take the credit. You handled it well. I would have lost it with her at some point.

  8. @ Evans ~ Hahaha thanks!! Glad you enjoyed it; and I love that term!!! I might have to use it now to describe the situation… minus the whole sexual side…

    @ Valerie ~ OOOH how frustrating!! I too hate group projects SO much; there is ALWAYS that slacker and it’s the ones who try the most who get the brunt of the abuse.

  9. @ Princess P ~ I certainly hope so too; my instructor has the paper and said that she would go over their paper with a fine tooth comb next time; but I mean, those 2 were caught the year before and they were STILL IN THE PROGRAM. Argh.

    @ AP ~ I know eh? And they had done it before; I mean, who gets second chances at university in a competitive program where you can’t exactly cheat in the real word of nursing.

  10. @ Kyla ~ It was a complete semester-long nightmare; and yes, they DO have a reputation for it. In fact, amongst the students, they’re notorious for cheating. However, the teachers don’t know this because nobody (until me) spoke up about it.

    @ Airam ~ OOH I really wanted to; I really really did. But I’m too pretty to go to jail. I wouldn’t last a minute!

  11. @ Bemused ~ Hi! Thanks for stopping by! And I did lose it on her; when she was trying to figure out a power point presentation and telling us that we didn’t know anything, I LOST it (in a full computer lab, no doubt) and started swearing “If you don’t know how to do a FUCKING presentation than you shouldn’t FUCKING be in this FUCKING program.” Boy did I feel better after that.

  12. Yikes! What drama. PBH sounds like a real case. I hope she gets what’s coming to her. Glad to hear that you’re finding yourself in a better situation. No one needs that kind of stress.

  13. Oh my god!!! I cant believe you went through all of that and didnt tell me.. I would have been there for you and supported you 100% .. Im so sorry you had to go through that.. I think I know the other two members but i could be wrong.. Ill talk to you more about this in person.. I still cant believe everything your telling me. Whats gonna happen now with you ? and with them? I know your seperated so are you with the other group and working on thier project?.. whos in your new group?… wow.. unbelievabke,, scary how much shit goes on and i bet no one knew about it either. But you did the right thing.. Im really proud you.. all the power to Ya!
    Love you
    *Mattie

  14. Eeek! That’s a crappy situation to be in. I’ve had some things similar but not that bad as to have a group hand in a plagiarized paper. I wouldn’t have wanted to turn it in either! I’m sure any normal human being’s blood would have been boiled. I’d be willing to bet money that she probably was having her college paid for her, no? I’m not sure anybody in their right mind who’s paying out the rear for a college education would risk it on a copied paper.

    Grrr …

    Anyways, you know what I do when I get pissed? I blog! Well, that and drink orange fanta … hehe

    Always an adventure here!

  15. I love you honey 🙂

    Thank you agian for coming to New York with me I had a great time with you and can’t wait till we can live together so that I get to see you all the time 🙂

  16. Wow that sounds frustrating as hell. I’m so glad you got out of it, I would have seriously lost my shit with that girl.

  17. Wow that sounds all sorts of ridiculous, she must be quite the pain in the ass. Glad you got out of the situation hon! Ahhhh this makes me so mad!

  18. In spite of your warranted outburst, you handled it with class, as did STM. Can’t PBH be disciplined for her actions? I always believed that plagarism was veryheavily frowned upon … punishable by near death.

  19. @ Mattie ~ I’ll see you in class on Friday; we can talk more then!

    @ theMayor ~ I blogged this after the meeting; I was so rev’d up I could have boiled the water I was holding through the bottle; yes I am practically an X-Man.

  20. @ Miriam ~ I did lose it with PBH, I swore at her REALLY loudly in front of a room full of students. That felt REALLY good…

    @ Ruby ~ I know!! I mean… it takes SO much work to write a good paper, and to have someone try and STEAL?? Gah…

  21. @ George ~ I thought so too… but I guess here in Canada if you come from another country and don’t speak English well (although well enough to get into college…) you’re more apt to be forgiven than if you were born and bred here… wtf.

  22. @ Carla ~ Thanks!! I’m glad she got hers too; she deserved it, that’s for damn sure!

  23. payback’s a bitch aint it? lol

  24. @ Michelle ~ you bet!!!!!

  25. This post clearly illustrates why I hate group work.

    (Glad you are happy now though!)

  26. @ brandy ~ thanks girlfriend; I HATE group work as well – but now at least I am in a better (read: non-plagiarizing) group.

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