When you first arrive on campus, one way or another, you’ll quickly stumble upon the phenomenon of BST, or BITSIAN Standard Time. Whether you realize it during the umpteenth time you’ve been made to wait during registration processes or during those hours you’re forced to while away before your club meeting is about to start, once you’ve met BST, it’s hard to shake yourself from the grip of this deadly foe.
It’s easy to fool oneself into ignoring this problem of perpetual tardiness and dismissing it as a quirk of our college environment, even something that is almost amusing at times. But under the guise of BST, we are modeling and continuing a tradition of a far more worrying trait of our culture: a lack of consideration for other people and their time.
This lack of consideration that we speak of is as pervasive among all levels of the college hierarchy as it is in the general student body. An example would serve us well here as a case study. In a large CDC, two sole teaching assistants were to distribute individual passwords for an assignment to a class of over 200 students in its entirety. Which would have been perfectly acceptable, had the distribution not begun in the last meager 5 minutes of regular class hours that the professor had put aside for this job. This effectively left 15 minutes for all those who had a class next, to find a way to jetpack to their next classroom. What followed next was predictably chaotic, as each tried to jostle their way to the front first.
We’re in an institution where the average intelligence of the population is higher than the norm, so why were the logistical issues in this situation not foreseen? Is the answer no, that they were not? Or is the answer yes, appended with the explanation that the problems of the students who had to collect their passwords were theirs and theirs only.
Selfish attitudes have a tendency to form a vicious cycle. If no one else values your time and other obligations, what right does anyone to expect that of you, after all? And thus, it begins. “Bhai, the meeting is at 6. Toh aaram se 6:45 ko jaate hain”. And it’s working, isn’t it? We all get work done, one way or another. Our fests go on, our clubs and departments keep working, meetings happen somehow anyway. If everyone is used to it, what’s the need for change? Shouldn’t we be glad for the flexibility?
No. It’s simply unfair to everyone. Late meetings deprive organizations of productivity. Late events deprive participants of their time. Late performances deprive performers of their audience. Late talks by speakers from outside deprive our college of its reputation. People’s time gets wasted. Your time gets wasted. So stop. We all have to stop – if not for others, then for ourselves.
Let’s stop wasting our own time.
Let’s do things on time. People won’t show up, at first, yes. Events will have low turn-outs, maybe, the first couple of times. But eventually there will be a change. Of course, this is asking for a lot, and maybe too much. This is not something that one person, or organization can do of course, but a sea-change in attitude that may not be possible right away. So we can start small at least.
Go a little bit earlier than you usually do. Start things a little less late than you usually do. And before you know it, we might actually have a revolution on our hands.