Medical School

Little White Lie…

Yesterday I told a little white lie… At least I think it is a little white lie.

This is about the time that we find out about student awards and bursaries.  For the past 3 years I have received around $10,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year – this is a lot of money, but not even enough to pay my tuition (yes, I know, us Canadians should stop complaining about our cheap, subsidized tuition).  Anyway, I have been keeping an eye on my student fees account and nothing has been showing up.  So, I did a little investigating and realized that way back in September, when I filled in the application for awards and bursaries, I forgot to submit the financial needs calculator. Ooops.

They need the financial needs calculator for bursaries so that they can determine which students are the poorest and, therefore, most eligible for free money.  If you don’t submit the calculator, you don’t get considered for the bursaries.  The really stupid thing, though, is that my financial calculator looks the same every year… I have submitted the EXACT same application for the past three years – and it only changed when E was born – and it showed that I was even more poor because I now had two parasites kids instead of one.

So, when I realized my mistake, I “re-submitted” it again, got a confirmation email thanking me for my submission and giving me a confirmation number (which is identical to the confirmation numbers from previous years, with the year 2013 instead of whatever other year it was).  I then called the student awards centre with some kind of little story that went something like this:

“So I was talking to someone at my university and they said that I didn’t submit the calculator, but I swear that I did right after I filled out the application, I even got the confirmation email.”  Of course, they asked me to forward them the email, and I did, but only after changing the “sent date” to the same date that I submitted the application.  I’m not gonna lie now… this little act made me feel horrible – I even got a stomach ache… But it worked.  The lady was completely stumped.  She said she had to talk to a few people and she’d get bak to me.  She wasn’t sure if it was too late to put my application into the mix, but she’d see. (And, the pit in my stomach got a little bigger)

She called me today to tell me that they put my application in and that Medicine had yet to do their bursaries… No harm done, I am still going to be eligible.  A huge part of me is relieved because the biggest bursary that I get every year, about $8000, comes from the medicine bursaries.  The rest I may have missed out on, but those ones change every year anyway.  However, a very small piece of me feels really bad about being dishonest: I wasn’t organized enough to get my application in on time and I should be penalized the same as everyone else… but then again, I’m a medical student with two kids – can you blame me for the mall oversight?  Not to mention, I am a medical student, with two kids and no money – $8000 is a lot of money!  And, since they haven’t even assigned the bursaries yet, no harm done, right?

What do you think?  Am I a bad person?  Do I even deserve the honour or graduating with a medical degree in 4 months?

Yup.  I should probably burn at the stake…

17 thoughts on “Little White Lie…

  1. I hardly think you’re a bad person for doing this. I have heard about all sorts of stories about how families milk the system, and that is FAR from what you have done here. It was an accident, you found a way to fix it, and although it wasn’t honest it was something you would have gotten had there not been an oversight.

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    1. Thanks! I still feel a little bad about it, and it seems like not everyone thinks it was a fair thing to do. I guess it probably wasn’t. Either way, i guess no harm was really done, like you said.

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  2. I love your guilty conscience. It makes me giggle. I think what you did was smart. I wouldn’t have thought of it and probably would have screwed myself had I been in your situation. I say chalk it up to intelligence. And this is definitely a no harm no foul little white lie.

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    1. Thanks, Babe. I will always feel a little guilty about it, but people lie about far bigger thugs and don’t think twice about it. Often, there are lies that are for good and not for evil… Right?

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        1. I’m glad I have people like you, who know me, giving me your opinion in this situation! It is certainly easy to let it eat me alive!

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        2. Wow, just read it. If I were you I would delete it because if they can’t even show themselves, it’s not worth giving them an answer or even 30 seconds of your time. But that is just my humble opinion. And I think they are way overboard in their thoughts. I hope you won’t let it get to you. Consider them a troll.

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        3. I thought about deleting it, but then I figured that it would show better character to reply than to ignore their criticism. After all, I’d be surprised if that person had never ever lied in their life.

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        4. Yeah, but the way it is written it sounds like a troll. An internet bully who gets their jollies by making others feel bad.

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  3. I understand how that would make you feel bad. I’m not innocent of my own questionable, but ultimtely harmless, actions in my life. Nothing illegal, but not exactly 100% straight and narrow. We’re talking about a date here, not income or number of dependents. They’ve not started awarding anyone and you haven’t lied about the financials. You’ve probably already lost enough sleep about it.

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    1. I hope you’re right. I will always feel a little guilty and it all happened so fast, I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to think about it at the time. Now I know I’ll never forget about deadlines, that’s for sure!

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  4. I really doubt I’d have the courage to do that, but it’s not as if you aren’t entitled to your bursary, so let the guilt go and move on. Just make sure that if there’s a next time, you do it at the right time! That way, you’ll save yourself the torment of guilt. 🙂

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  5. You are kidding yourself, this is fraud and if you get caught there will be serious consequences. Will you cover up all your mistakes as a resident too?? It is a slippery slope of dishonesty.

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    1. I think fraud is a pretty sting word, but I appreciate your comment, nonetheless. As someone else said, it’s a deadline, not a lie about my income, my needs, or something else. As for covering up mistakes as a resident – I think there is more harm in not recognizing stakes than trying to cover them up. I’m not saying that I would ever do that, but it’s better to realize a mistake was made than to pretend it never happened. Finally, I know many doctors and residents who are forced to commit “fraud,” as you call it, just to ensure a patient can get appropriate or timely care in a system that has many loopholes and restrictions. Would you know the hard on those people too? Somehow I don’t think so. Thanks for reading!

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