Avoiding freeloaders on your University Degree Course

The only problem I had with other students at university was dealing with freeloaders.

Very early on in my degree I allowed another student to read some of my work. It quickly became apparent they were planning to plagiarise it. I warned them not to and nothing came of it, but it was a valuable lesson:

  • Only work with people who share your commitment and ethics
  • Never give anyone else your work, or leave work unattended
  • Plagiarism is taken very seriously by universities, if someone copies your work, you will also be penalised.

Freeloaders come in many guises, using a mixture of humour, charm, flirtation and sympathy as emotional levers. Failing this more unpleasant forms of guile and pressure are applied.

Nevertheless, freeloaders are usually easy to identify as:

  • You will not see them at university lectures
  • You will not see them in the university library
  • When you do see them at university they will be messing around
  • They will ultimately try and manipulate you into helping them with their own degree assignments

A proactive approach is often helpful in countering attempts at manipulation:

  • Suggest they start their degree assignments
  • Advise them to turn up to university lectures
  • Advise them to seek help from university lecturers if they are struggling
  • Make it clear that they are heading toward failure (as opposed to being bailed out by you)
  • If they take your advice they will not need to ask for your work.

If they do not take your advice then you have already put the onus back on them and implied you are not going to bail them out, thus making it harder for them to ask for work, and easier for you to say no.

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I guarantee, if you start giving work to freeloaders on your degree course they will keep taking all the way through your degree and give nothing of value back in return.

That said, you should help others on your degree where you can, it’s a good thing to do, and at some point you will need help and advice from other students in return. If you see someone working hard to help themselves, but struggling with particular topics on your degree course then there is no reason not to help them.

What I am saying is set your boundaries and don’t let anyone take advantage of you.