Over the weekend, I happened to travel home, Kampala…despite the fact that I had class scheduled back here in Mbale…my PGD classes are Saturday and Sunday….anyhow, I had given a friend my word that I would be around for his graduation party…26th was initially a public holiday so I figured we would not have class that day, so yes, I would definitely travel. Then somehow that public holiday was moved, and so class was put back…but I was determined to keep a promise I had made. I traveled Friday, and yes, attended the function on Saturday,,,I could have chosen to travel back upcountry on Sunday, but decided to just stay home with the family…and then turned out, the class on Sunday, had group course work, submitted that very day…my group mates kept calling asking whether they could sign on my behalf i.e. forge my signature but I repeatedly told them not to…told them I would find a way of fixing the whole thing when I got back…there is a big penalty for missing course work, worst case scenario being discontinuation…so no wonder they wanted to “help.” Anyhow I requested them that under no circumstances should anyone sign for me.
So I got back Monday afternoon and called the professor first thing…I had my story already rehearsed, which was the truth by the way…was going to tell him exactly what happened, I had made plans, because the day was initially a public holiday and I was not willing to go back on my word….before I even started my story…just after I had told him that I missed his class and didn’t do the assignment he gave,,,and I was willing to do it and submit it individually, he said..”that’s fine, do it and make an individual submission next weekend.” I almost choked on the phone in disbelief while winding up the phone call, “oh, ok. Thank you sir.” I mean I had ‘prepared’ my explanation so much…ready to do 5 other assignments as punishment or something….
At the end of the day,,,as in literally, at night, I thought about what this had to teach me…One, I had given someone my word and kept it despite the circumstances, and two, I actually stood for something I believed in, integrity. I could have let someone sign for me if I wanted, and maybe would have got away with it even, because 9/10 times, the professors do not actually ‘study’ those signatures….but I didn’t, because I knew it was not right…
I know I’m not the best person in the world, but if people, especially those in charge of our well being exercised at least just these two virtues…commitment and integrity, maybe the world would be less harsh on us…just maybe.
“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
― Malcolm X
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein
“In the end you should always do the right thing even if it’s hard.”
― Nicholas Sparks