First Impressions Aren't Always Right

Why First Impressions Should Get A second chance

Don't judge a book by its cover.

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You are not always going to be right.

It's pretty obvious in academics: sometimes you get perfect scores on tests; a lot of the time you don't. You get a letter grade on papers, projects, even participation. It's easier to correct yourself and improve your performance when you have an evaluation to go off of.

It's a little bit more difficult in real life.

It's a lesson I've been struggling to learn for a few years now—particularly when it comes to my perceptions of others.

I've always thought I was pretty good at reading people; a lot of the time, I am. I've always been detail-oriented and super tuned into reading body language. But there are also times that I make mistakes—and I haven't often admitted that to myself. There have been plenty of occasions where I write people off after only a few negative interactions.

To put it simply, it is really difficult for me to let go of a first impression.

And I'm trying to check myself on that.

Recently, I've come back into contact with a few individuals that I knew from years ago—and it dawned on me one day that they're almost nothing like what I remembered them to be. I had been so hesitant to speak to them at first because of my outdated perceptions of them.

I've allowed old first impressions to take precedent over the now.

And that's really unfair.

There are a million and one reasons why a first impressions might be wrong: maybe they were having a bad day. Or week. Or month. Maybe they were simply immature.

People are supposed to grow and change and mature with age. Why should I hold onto those initial impressions? Why deny myself the chance to get to know the new and improved versions of the people from my past?

I wouldn't want someone else to assume I am the exact same 16 or 17 year old I was a few years ago because, realistically, a lot has happened since then. I've learned a lot about myself and about how I want to treat others.

What I'm trying to say is that I know I've made plenty of mistakes in the past and I'm going to make plenty more in the future. If I know that I am living and learning, why should I hold anyone else to a higher standard?

While I wouldn't go so far as to say first impressions don't matter, I would wager that they shouldn't be the only source you use to judge a person.

Think of it this way: if you used one website from 2012 as your only source for a research paper, you'd probably lose quite a few points. That doesn't mean the website sucked--it means you didn't put in enough effort to bolster the rest of your thesis.

Check yourself.

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.

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I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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