Being On Time… A Thing of the Past?


Katie Fikes

“If you’re not early, you’re late.” This was a common phrase around my house growing up.

My parents and grandparents instilled in me a dependency that was accompanied by punctually.  Therefore, I always believed, and still do impart believe, being on time is an important life skill which made someone successful; without punctuality certain levels of success could not be achieved.

Then I came to college. 

The scheduling and lifestyle is a totally new ball game in comparison to high school. Classes are not Monday through Friday, eight to three.  It takes more discipline with the twenty four hours we are given in a day.

During my first two years at USAO I discovered that for some odd reason certain people were habitually late.  I could not wrap my brain around this concept.  So I decided to do a little experiment of my own.

The first day of class this trimester I tallied how many people came to class late.  Granted, waking up at 7:45 a.m. for a grammar class was not exactly the easiest task in the world for me, but I still did it because that was what was expected of me.

But anyways, there were a total of 12 people throughout my five classes who came late on the first day.  One of those 12 was a double offender and was late to two classes I had with her.

On top of the students who were late, I had two teachers stroll in a few minutes late as well.  This is mind boggling to me.

Let me clear something up really quick.  I’m not saying they were 10 or even 15 minutes late.  I don’t think anyone came in after the first five or six minutes and there were several who were just a minute or two late; but late nonetheless.

12 students and two teachers seemed like a staggering number to me.  It not only made me mad because I could not understand how being on time was hard for people, but it also made me think.

These particular students who were coming late are good students and appear to be successful young adults—in some cases successful “old” adults.   In addition, the professors who were late are profound educators and have many accomplishments under their belts. This was puzzling to me.

How were these people habitually late, yet doing well?  Is being on time really an important attribute to have in order to gain worldly success?

After thinking about it for a week and observing more situations, I don’t think it to be particularly important to be punctual.

Everyone who was late had three things in common: hard work, determination, and humility.  I think these three are more important than being on time, which has its own time and place to be important.

While I still don’t understand how hard it is to set an alarm and wake up when it goes off and I still get embarrassed when I walk into class late, I have my own weaknesses that others probably can’t understand.

Therefore, I’m a little less prudent about five minutes here and there.