Facial Expressions Speak Louder Than Words

Facial Expressions Speak Louder Than Words

If facial expressions could form sentences, mine would equate to paragraphs.

We all know the saying: “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”

Let us agree that there is a time and a place for this.

Sometimes wearing your heart on your sleeve is admirable and honest, while other times, it’s vulnerable and terrifying.

Sometimes, wearing your heart on your sleeve is unintentional or accidental. Some of us are simply more prone to this “let-your-guard-down” sort of behavior and that’s perfectly respectable.

In my case, I manifest this “let-your-guard-down” sort of behavior through my facial expressions.

There’s not a moment out of the day when someone couldn’t look at me and guess exactly what I’m thinking or what my internal reaction to a situation is.

Many would read this and think that my biggest problem here (or saving grace, depending on how you look at it) is that the game of “poker” will never be for me.

Those of you who thought this would be 110% correct.

If facial expressions could form sentences, mine would equate to paragraphs.

One time, when I was 14, I found myself in physical therapy due to a cracked growth plate and snapped tendons in my right ankle.

Yes, I was involved in sports at the time but this accident was a result of anything but athletics…

I am reluctant to share with you that I received a cracked growth plate and torn tendons because in a moment of fury, I decided to start kicking an air mattress that a friend was trying to hide beneath. At the time, there were a mass number of people in my room and I was quickly becoming overwhelmed.

The friend was hiding because they knew I was getting anxious wanting them out of my space but they insisted on not listening.

I mentioned how my facial expressions reveal my inner thoughts but it seems that my physical response to this situation might have served the same purpose…

I admit, this response was incredibly rash and immature but at the time, I felt that it got my point across. However, my point wasn’t the only thing that was being projected in this moment. As my foot hit the air mattress, my 14-year-old body became an object in motion. I knew a little something about this because as I was learning in science at the time: “a body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.”

Before I could complete my projectile curve across the room, my ankle became that unbalanced force and broke my fall (and my growth plate).

Anyways, back to the physical therapy appointment. I was already embarrassed enough about the situation but my mom insisted I share with the doctor the real reason for my injuries. Clearly, she knew that the doctor saw through my lie when I said “I’m not sure what really happened…I tripped and fell down my stairs somehow!”

As I sat on the examination bench with my mom to my right and the doctor towards my feet (holding my right ankle in preparation to be taped) my thoughts grew increasingly more transparent across my face.

The doctor began taking the tape roll and going around and around my ankle in a “figure 8” fashion. As he went around and around the tape got tighter and tighter and my face got redder and redder. My eyebrows furrowed while my nostrils began to flare. This was one of those times when I felt that at any moment, the heat of my breath would warm up enough to become fire and prevent the doctor from wrapping my ankle any tighter.

My mom recounts that I began “glaring holes into him” and “he was clearly getting uncomfortable” as this 14-year-old girl was giving him the same soul-burning stare an infuriated reality T.V. show wife might give to a scripted and disappointing spouse: purposeful, terrifying and full of meaning.

However, in this instance, the meaning I was trying to convey was: “Sir, you’re wrapping my ankle so tightly I think it might explode.”

Nonetheless, my mom made me go outside and wait in the car while she went back and apologized to my physical therapist who was only trying to help me and do his job.

Needless to say, the next appointment was achingly awkward and I left with a very loosely taped ankle and a shattered sense of self that no amount of tightly wound tape could repair.

This instance has always stuck with me (no tape pun intended) because it was one of the first times I realized the fault behind the saying: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I suppose in all my years of hearing this advice, I never processed that “having something to say” might also mean what you choose to say with your facial expressions.

After all, were we not raised with the understanding that actions speak louder than words?

I’m here to tell you that they do and occasionally the act of facially expressing yourself is the biggest culprit of them all.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.


As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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6 Tips On How To Get An A From Your TA

Being a teacher's pet isn't a bad thing--at least for that A.


1. Show Up On Syllabus Week


Even though your two years older brother, whose going to the same exact college, swears that syllabus week isn't necessary--it is. Some teachers get their classes up and going right away, taking no time for reviewing the syllabus because you're a big college kid now and should've done that on your own time. During syllabus week, you'll either hop right into lessons or actually review the syllabus that you should've before but you know you didn't. Either way, it's beneficial to go just for the sake of learning where the class is, if not anything else.

2. Show Up On Time After That

Mitchell Hollander

Punctuality is everything about how others see you for first impressions. If you're the kid strolling in ten minutes late everyday, everyone is going to get annoyed--including the teacher. Have some respect for yourself and others. Be sure to attend class on time. Some would say if you're five minutes late, don't come at all, but that's more for the sake of the class and you've got to be watching out for yourself.

3. Sit In Front

Nathan Dumlao

It's not awkward or weird to sit in the very front of the lecture hall, I promise. You're actually setting yourself up for the best when the teacher's mic fails and she's resorted to shouting the rest of the lesson instead of cancelling it. Not only that, but your questions are always addressed first and you can be the first one to reach her after the class is over, instead of the tenth in the line of people who were too nervous to ask the questions during class.

4. Participate In Class

Edwin Andrade Edwin Andrade

If, or rather when, the teacher asks the class to answer a question, just raise your hand and answer it. Stop stressing over whether you're wrong or not. It's far easier just to answer and let class move along instead of sitting there for an awkward five minutes of silence and paper shuffling. Another note, if you have a question, ask it. This refers back to the line of ten people that appears after class because they were too nervous to ask in front of a crowd. Not to mention you're all probably asking the same question. Moral of the story, if you have a question, ask it because at least one other person out of two hundred has that same one.

5. Go To Office Hours

Nastuh Abotalebi

If you need help, get it. Or even if you don't, get it anyways. Have them check over the outline of your paper or ask them what topics they feel will be touched on most during the test. Or even just go in there to have coffee with them. Office hours suck when no one comes in and many TAs enjoy getting to know their students. You're in college; you're supposed to be networking.

6. Talk To Them Like They're People

Michael Discenza Michael Discenza

Because they are. Don't raise your voice when you didn't study and weren't prepared and didn't get the grade you wanted. Don't yell when you aren't getting something. Form a relationship, a good one, because they're students too, probably only four years older than you. They like to get drunk on Friday's too--you'll see them out at the same bars you go to right after you sent that email to them, asking a question about the paper.

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