Punctuality: The Politeness of Kings

Adriana Radosavljevic, Guest Contributor

Creak. The classroom door opens as the teacher continues to speak. The late student walks unsurely towards the teacher, shoes squeaking against the floor. She stands there holding a pass until the teacher pauses to take it, the class watching her every move.

No one wants to be late–at times, it can be beyond cringe-worthy. But besides the obvious embarrassment, what consequences does being tardy really have?

Due to “Freshmen Fridays” in the library, school librarian Christine Heaton has had many experiences with interruptions: “When students are seated and ready to go… it’s already five minutes into class; I’m ready to go, I’m ready to start, and I will start. Now the one or two stragglers who come in, they’ve missed the introduction; they’ve missed the beginning. And now it’s ‘Where are we? What are we doing? What’s going on?’ Now it becomes a distraction.” Not only do late students miss class, but they also limit the educational experience of others.

Students aren’t the only culprits, though. Said Rebecca Nelson, ‘17, “When teachers are late, class is started late, and that takes away time when the students are supposed to be learning.” Because of this, tardiness can have even more drastic consequences further into the future. Nelson stated that, therefore, “You are not likely to get good college or job recommendations, and you might have some missed opportunities.” Though sleeping in may have seemed like a good idea in the moment, a detention after multiple instances just doesn’t give the same feeling. And, if sought, recorded detentions may resurface: colleges have the option of viewing specific applicant records upon request.

Punctuality not only affects the tardy individual, but those who were punctual, too; this has a huge effect on impressions. According to Kyong Radosavljevic, an electrical engineer at Raytheon, “Short term is that you were tardy for that event, but the long-term consequence is that they will not respect you because they think that you will be tardy all the time.” Once someone has made up their mind about another, it can be quite difficult to change their opinion.

Students, teachers, and professionals all seem to have the same perspective, no matter whose fault it actually is. Heaton said, “Even if your reason for being late is a valid reason–you were off saving the world or something–it doesn’t matter. It’s always because whatever you were doing was a priority over what you need to do. And sometimes people need to take a stronger look at their priorities.” Tardiness can leave a lasting bitter taste, especially if it is continuous.

Nelson stated that tardiness represents a lack of responsibility and commitment, along with the idea that you must not be “a diligent person.” Whether one means to be late, or not, simply does not have effect–the consequence is always the same.

Radosavljevic also said, “It makes me stressed out [when I am behind schedule] because I have to get the same amount of work done in a shorter period of time.” For many, additional strain is added through a time crunch.

When it comes down to it, punctuality simply cannot occur for every event of every day. Nevertheless, whether at school, the office, or social events, it is in each person’s best interest to appear on time.