What Does Cheating Say About You as a Person?

By Emma Surman, QUT Student Guild Academic Advocacy

We’ve all had those moments of desperation when we just don’t know what to do or where to begin when we delve deeper and question ourselves. 

Am I a good person? 

Is this the path I wish to lead? 

What led me to this moment? Copy and pasting a few words more than what’s acceptable? Clicking a Facebook link for academic help? 

So, what do you do? Do you go with the flow and hope for the best? Do you chalk it up as a failure and just move on? Do you sit there, anxiety-riddled that someone would find out? How do you unravel the tangle of mess you’ve gotten into? 

We’ve put together a quick step-by-step to get you through.

What has happened?

Has your tutor/unit coordinator notified you about a potential misconduct? This is the beginning of the Academic Misconduct process. This will usually be called an Authentication of Learning meeting (or AOL for short). Remember, it is your responsibility to uphold the Student Code of Conduct and uphold the principles of Academic Integrity (Google QUT MOPP Student Code of Conduct).

Get help

Know you’re not alone in this. The Guild Advocacy team can help guide you through this process 

Email: advocacy@qutguild.com  

Phone:                   3138 1683 (GP)                                              |               3138 2349 (KG) 

Address:                QUT Gardens Point Campus                                      QUT Kelvin Grove Campus                                                           X Block, Level 2, Room X206                                      C Block, Level 4, Room 404 

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm qutguild.com/help/academic-advocacy/

Respond to your tutor or unit coordinator

Your tutor or unit coordinator should always invite you to respond to a query about your work and if they don’t, make sure you open the lines of communication.

Thoroughly read through the decision outcome

Your letter will explain the breach of academic integrity. Take note of any appeal-related dates and penalty matrix.

Know your appeal rights

One of the processes for Academic Misconduct is providing students with the opportunity to appeal, explain what happened and if you feel the penalty is not fair.

Complete your sanctions

A decision has been made and it may not have gone the exact way you were hoping for, however, don’t give up, follow the directions in your letter and ask questions if you have them.

Find a solution

The Academic Misconduct processes are put in place to keep students accountable. Use the opportunity to grow from this experience. What are your core values? What are your future goals? Whether you found the experience negative or positive, what can you learn from it now? Remember, help-seeking strategies you can use in the future include: 

  • Academic Help workshops in the library 
  • Time management. Consider a reduction in your work hours, or apply for an Access Equity Plan. 
  • Seek personal & financial support. Consider counselling or the Student Guild’s foodbank and transport assistance. 

If you find yourself in a pickle, know that there have been people before you who went through this, and there will be people after you that go through it too. 

This one incident doesn’t define you as a “bad” person. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s in learning and growing from those mistakes that helps define you. 


Emma Surman

Emma (she/her) is the Student Assist Manager for the Guild, supporting a team of Advocacy Officers based at both Garden’s Point and Kelvin Grove Campuses. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Education from QUT and 10 years’ experience in student services. Check out the latest resources on how to be a better student here.


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