You may wonder why Americans are always checking the time on their watches, on their phones, and on their computers. Americans are always focused on what time it is and when something is due or if they’re going to be late. Americans can seem obsessed with being on-time and being up-to-date with their emails and their schedules.
Americans think of time as a resource. It is something that can be saved, wasted, spent, used wisely, or given. There is a popular phrase in the United States that “Time is money” and “there’s never enough time” or “time is not on my side today”. Being on time or using time wisely is considered to be a good use of a very important resource.
This is why being on time is considered a sign of respect to someone else. You’re not wasting their resource. You value their time and you don’t want to waste it by being late. By being early or on time, this indicates that you’re respectful, serious, and that you value the person or people that you’re meeting with. Being late for class will send a message to your professor that you do not value his time. It is very disrespectful to be late for class or for appointments.
However, keep in mind that when things are schedule from 4pm-9pm, it usually appropriate to arrive anytime between 4pm-9pm. It is not expected that you should stay the entire time or exactly at 4pm.
During your time in the United States, it is important to try to adapt to the American understanding of time. Arriving on time to class and appointments is very important. If you do not arrive on time to class, the professor could possibly not let you in the classroom as they would feel that your late arrival is a disruption. If you’re late to an appointment that you’ve scheduled with a university staff member or a faculty member, you could find that they have moved on to their next appointment or even left their office because they had other things scheduled. Also, remember that deadlines for assignments and projects are rarely flexible. You will need to pay attention to these because not adhering to these deadlines could result in a professor’s refusal to accept your late assignment. Make sure you pay attention to your deadlines, class times, and scheduled appointments. Remember, it is a sign of respect to be on time, to not be on time is considered very rude!