Tuesday, May 17, 2011
honesty is the only policy.
I'll never forget the day I spent two hours in the dean of students' office, crying.
After writing "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" enough times to make my hand hurt, I was done. It was my senior year, and it was definitely not the best time of my life. My superiors (the principals) were making me question why I should ever tell the truth at all, even though the truth was something that was always the most important to me.
It all started on a normal day; I excused myself from my editor duties during newspaper and went to the restroom. If only I hadn't chose that stall that day. Or that bathroom at all.
I selected a stall and realized there was writing on the wall next to the toilet paper dispenser. There's nothing odd about that, right? Wrong.
It was a bomb threat scrawled on the wall. My high school had this same sort of situation in the past. Even though nothing had ever happened, I knew it was a big deal. So I did what I thought was right. I went back to class, told my teacher, who notified the proper heads.
I thought it was fine until I was called down to the office. I was questioned, I was prodded to write sentences, I was flat-out asked if I did it.
I sat there, dumbfounded. "Would I report it to you if I had written it myself?"
Apparently that was completely possible. But what motives would I have to do it?
"I'm sorry, but I'm not the kind of student who would do such a thing," I said. "I reported it because I wanted to prevent something from happening. I'm a good student, I'm editor in chief of the school newspaper, and I love school. This wasn't me."
But there I sat. And the more I sat, the worse I felt. Did they really think it was me, were they just doing their job? At the time I didn't know. And after missing two classes because of the debacle, I became incredibly frustrated. I wanted out. I hated missing class. I wished I had never reported it, but I realize now that I would have eventually wound up in this situation anyway, if I hadn't reported it.
I sat there wondering if the truth was really worth it. I was simply pissed. I felt like I was being punished for doing the right thing. I kept thinking "this isn't fair." But my parents had always drilled into my skull how important honesty is. So I waited it out.
And even after that awkward, embarrassing situation, honesty is still a driving force in my life. Sure, honesty in certain situations can put you on the edge of your seat, make you feel like you want to die, or even kill a few connections. But in the end, isn't it worth it? I did the "right thing," and who knows, maybe it did a little good. The journey can always be tough, but in the end, it's a lot easier than trying to make up for the things you never did or the things you never said.
photo via (we heart it)