Be impressed to impress

You are judgemental. Maybe not in a condemnatory way, but you judge people, things, experiences, et cetera. Often your judgements are made on a subconscious level because it deems certain things inconsequential and thus not worth your attention. You are also aware of many of your judgements. 

As you are making judgements, like it or not, people are also judging you. What people think of you, or rather, what you think people think of you, affects your quality of life. We are social creatures after all. For this reason, it is important to be aware and have control of the impressions you make. 

So what makes a good first impression? It depends on who or what you are trying to impress, whether it be a hiring committee for a job you are applying for, or perhaps a first date. 

There are many self-help books and psychology articles that explore how first impressions are made. The general consensus on the subject seems to suggest that to make a good first impression one ought to make eye contact, smile, mirror actions and moods. 

But why take a book’s word for it when you’ve had first hand experience? Ask yourself, why do I like the people I like? How did they make a positive impression on me? 

Chances are your friends and acquaintances probably do smile and make eye contact with you when you are together, but there is more to it than that. You also probably have at least some things in common: similar goals, ideals, or interests, for example. 

According to psychology research and even my own experience, people like those who act favourably towards them. That is, if someone takes an interest in me and wants to get to know me better, chances are I will, in turn, find that person more interesting and attractive. 

It follows that, in order to get someone to like you, you should behave as though you genuinely like them. It also helps if you genuinely like them.

​This is great advice for university students regardless of one’s year of study because we are constantly making important connections and networks with our peers, professors, employers and others that will affect our futures. 

This is your first week of a new school year and you have a chance to start over and be whoever you want to be, provided you have the necessary knowledge. Though this is especially true for first-years who don’t know anyone yet, it is also applicable to upper year students who wish to start anew. Laurier is a big enough community that you always have the opportunity to meet new people, make new first impressions, and start over.

Take advantage of your years as a university student and experiment with who you want to be and how you want people to judge you by being self aware and observing and learning from others.

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