Feeding my addiction
An account of one student’s venture into writing papers for money
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 23:09
At 9 p.m. on a weekday, all I wanted to do was make my dinner, take a shower, watch Friends and go to bed.
At 11 p.m. on a weekend, all I wanted to do was put on my heels, pregame with my friends and have a fun night at the bar.
Instead, I spent an entire semester devoting my nights to feeding into my addiction: writing other people’s papers for money.
It all started while I was ordering my avocado-spring rolls at The Cheesecake Factory. Upon dipping the deep fried roll into the spicy chili sauce, I received a text message that would completely change my college career: “How much could I pay you to write my World Civ paper?”
I wasn’t sure what to do. Plagiarizing is illegal, and getting paid for helping someone deceive his or her professor? That’s even worse. The last thing I wanted to do was end up in jail like that Great Neck boy who thought he could pull off taking the SATs for other high school juniors.
I figured I would write this one paper, charge $10 per page and have an easy, extra $50 in my wallet.
I realized writing a five-page paper analyzing the legitimacy of websites was easier than expected. One hour after starting the first draft, I sent the student a final draft to submit to her professor. Not even 10 minutes after submitting the piece to her, I received another text from a student in that same World Civ class with the same request. I crafted yet another five-page paper on the same topic in under an hour.
In one night, I became $100 richer. That’s six more dinners at The Cheesecake Factory that I barely worked for.
Talk of my services spread quickly, and soon I was averaging three paper requests per week. At first, I declined writing many of the essays. But after realizing how my minimal effort was making me an average of $10 in 10 minutes, I began to accept the offers.
About a month later, students from other schools began to message me requesting help with their assignments. I was writing research papers for students at Lehigh, Maryland, the University of Florida, Syracuse University and more.
While it made me more nervous to write papers for people who attended other universities, it showed me just how much money people are willing to give in order to get good grades. At top-notch schools, students were willing to pay me double what students at UB paid.
Upon visiting Syracuse and meeting a guy there who wrote papers for money, I realized I was not the only one balancing my own workload and the workload of approximately 100 others. He offered me $50 to write a two-page, double-spaced paper for one of his clients. In that moment, I realized just how incredible this illegal paper-writing industry really was.
I spent the first half of my car ride back to Buffalo from Syracuse writing papers. I learned how to write papers in the weirdest places – from the backseat of cars to typing introductions and conclusions on my phone’s notepad while on the treadmill. My life revolved around my fingers, the computer screen and other students’ paper guidelines.
During my spring break, I wrote over 100 pages for other people while on vacation. It was truly addicting.
I was writing 14-page papers on tomatoes and 13-page philosophy papers about people I had never heard of. I’ve never taken half of the courses for which I submitted pieces.
I told myself I would stop, but finals week came around and students were desperate for my help. A part of me hated that I was helping students who don’t deserve A’s, but the other part of me loved that I was able to shop whenever I wanted.
Five thousand dollars later, I was able to buy a plane ticket and pay for room and board so I could study abroad. After that, I was also able to pay for a five-day vacation over the summer.
I’ve never received a grade below an A- on an assignment.
I learned many things from writing essays for others. UB is probably one of the easiest schools in the country. The papers assigned in the majority of the English, communication, history and philosophy departments are either easy enough for a fifth grader to complete, or difficult but still graded as if they were assigned to a fifth grader.
I’ve spent under 20 minutes writing a double-spaced, five-page paper that I was sure would receive a C, but instead received a perfect score. I’ve taken online finals for students without ever participating in courses or reading lecture materials. Once, my common knowledge scored a student an A on her final exam.
I’ve also learned that UB is filled with procrastinators. The majority of papers people asked me to write were given to me approximately three hours before they were due.
Reading the guidelines and simply searching Google always prove to be enough to get an A. I would have happily told these students that writing these papers was so easy, but then I would have lost my business and, realistically, they probably would not have cared.
So far this semester, I have steered clear of these illegal acts. I’m trying to focus on my own workload. I was already offered $200 to write a thesis paper, but I declined.
I can’t promise, though, that by the time final week rolls around I’ll be able to decline the thousands of dollars I expect to be thrown at me.