First Impressions Are Deceiving
It was September 18th, 2006, my very first day at a brand new high school starting grad eleven. To makes things even more awkward, I was starting at the school two weeks later then everyone else. It was also one of my first days in a completely different land which I was yet to discover consisted of a completely different kind of people, and the transition would not be as easy as I assumed. Cobequid Educational Centre, better known as CEC, in Truro, Nova Scotia is where I was about to spend my short lived year of grade eleven. The new school was huge and crowded and loud and overwhelming (polysyndeton). My first period class is still a complete blur. All I remember is thirty pairs of eyes on me, staring. They watched me for the whole excruciating hour of class. By second period I could hear them talking. “Who does she think she is wearing all those designer brands?” One girl said to another and the other responded, “I heard she is from Ontario.” I tried shrink to about one-eight of my size when I heard this, it did not work. I was completely embarrassed and just wished I could disappear. All I could think was how did that get through a school of two thousand people, in under two hours. Walking into each class on the first day gave me the feeling as if I was on the cover of every girls magazine, headlining me with a label. You would think I was Britney Spears (eponym). All I know is, everyone was talking about me, even when I was within ear shot of their conversations. It was as if they wanted to be heard. By the end of the first day of school, I was labelled a rich Upper-Canadian snob and everyone at the school seemed to believe it was true. How could people assume I was any of these things without even talking to me, I do know that it is only human to judge people when you first see them, and I catch myself doing it all the time but I have never caught others labelling me red handed. How can you stereotype someone just by how they look or what they are wearing? High schools are the worst for stereotyping people everything from computer nerds to jocks. Girls these days are mean, boys these days are mean (epistrophe). Some girls I know almost think it is a talent that they can look at somebody and immediately know what their stereotype is and who they are friends with. Although most of the time they are correct, how on earth did people become this way. How do we decide what is cool and what is not. “Oh my god, look at his glasses! What a loser.” This is a line I overheard a girl say as I was walking down the hall. So are you telling me in order for people to be cool they can’t have the freedom of sight? I just want to ask these people, are you perfect (rhetorical question)? Not one single person on this earth is perfect because everyone is born with at least one freckle. Freckles are deviations of the skin, therefore making people imperfect. What is the difference between a freckle or a pair of glasses? Does this not prove that there is in fact a bit of loser in all of us?
When you judge people you are taking a big risk because when you point a finger at someone, there is always three pointing back at you. Go ahead, try it. Every time you walk down the street and look at a well dressed girl who looks good, automatically some nasty words come into your head to call her. Is this because you really think she is all of these things? No, it is because of jealousy, or maybe some of the things that come to your mind about her are really about you (hypophora)! I know, whenever I see very well dressed girls I automatically try to think of words in my head to bring them down and I realise I do this because I am jealous of their five-hundred dollar Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and their one thousand dollar Prada bags. So maybe next time you are walking down the halls and you are about to say, “that boy is such a loser,” you might want to think twice because although you are pointing your finger at him, there will always be three fingers pointing back at you calling you a loser for judging someone without even giving them a chance. If when you think of your self as being a loser hurts your feelings, then think about how that boy who you were about to call a loser feels when people call him names. Although they might not show it, teenagers are really affected by labelling.
Stereotyping and labelling can be really hard on teenagers because they do not think they are losers and they just wish everyone else could see that, which brings me back to my first day at CEC. When I got home I was a hysterical mess. I went up to my room and held a picture of all my friends from Ontario. I stared at the picture and just cried. I was so upset I could not control myself, I just about to (aposiopesis) … I had never experienced hard labelling first handed and it hit me right in the face, like a child being told there is no santa. I swore to myself I would never judge or label someone ever again. When you put labels on other people and judge them before you even meet them, you are making that person feel bad about themselves. How would you like it to walk down the hall and here someone whisper “that girl is such a freak,” and know they are talking about you. Teenagers these days already have bad self esteem and when they hear someone whisper to a friend, “I heard that girl’s a slut,” as they walk down the halls, it makes them feel even worse about themselves. I knew a girl that was often called names such as that, and she soon started to think it was true. She started to sleep around with more and more guys, just because that is what people where saying she was. Ultimately, all this behaviour ended up getting her into a lot of bad situations as her friends started to not like her, she completely ruined her reputation and started to ruin her life. Teens will start to believe that what people are saying about them is true no matter how obscure it is. They will start to think things about themselves they never noticed before as a flaw. They will start thinking they are fat, ugly, fake, cocky (asyndeton) . A lot of teen suicides are caused because of kids not feeling like they belong or fit in. When they are labelled, it just makes not fitting in even harder on them. If kids would stop labelling one another, everyone would have a lot more friends, because if you judge someone assuming they are, in my case a “rich upper-Canadian snob,” you never know what kind of friend you are going to be missing out on.
I bit my tongue and drove through CEC, telling myself I was not an outsider. Slowly people started to give me a chance and were starting to see who I really was, a fun, caring, loving friend (asyndeton) . Believe it or not that girl I over heard saying, “..who does she think she is..,” on my first day at that school, turned out to be one of my best friends that I made at CEC. She told me that she judged me before even giving me a chance, just because of what she saw and what she herd. If she had held her grudge against me thinking I was just a upper-Canadian snob, we never would have been friends and we would of missed out on so many good times together, all the laughing, and crying, and parties, and drama (polysyndeton). People are not always what they appear to be, it is just like judging a book by its cover. You cannot tell what is on the inside, by how something looks on the outside.