However my friend, eventually, decided she was going to pick the same essay topic. That's fine, no problem. But we are in the same tutorial group and our tutor knows we are doing the same essay. I managed to write my essay, got my mum to help me edit it (as my friend has been 'accidentally' copying some of my work recently) and handed it on Monday morning. The deadline was 4pm.
I went to see my friend (who was still finishing her essay) and read through a bit of it to see how she was doing. I was horrified to see her essay has essentially the same structure as mine and similar content. I had given her a basic copy of my essay to read earlier in the week but I stopped doing it when I saw sentences from my essay in her's.
Now I am terrifed that both of us are going to fail because of plagiarism. Our Politics department, as is any university, is very very very tough on plagiarism and could automatically fail someone on the course, as well as automatically failed the essay. This essay accounts for 10% of my final mark.
My question is should I contact my tutor and explain the situation? But I'm worried she'll see this as a confession that we did copy each other's essays. I've discussed this with my friend and she doesn't seem to care. She argues that most of the essays handed in will be similar. She argues because we have different statistics it won't be counted as plagiarism. Our essays are not handed back until the end of January 2005.
I am extremely worried about this because I know if you have plagiarism on your academic record that's you screwed.
Edit: I would like to point out that my language hasn't been copied but some of the ideas and points I've made have been.