I have learned a thing or two about stereotypes during my first year at college. I don’t know what people think when they look at me; if there are specific adjectives that come to their minds or if no words come to their mind. I do know though that more times than not, I think of specific adjectives for people when I first see them. There is a girl that works in the cafeteria at my school that has piercings and tattoos, and when I see her, I assume that she does not care about school and does not have a sense of responsibility. I also think that she looks like a person who would drink heavily and maybe do some drugs. Basically, she does not look like a person I would readily be friends with. I found out I was wrong about my assumptions. Surprisingly to me, she works at a daycare center, and she is great with all the kids. From what I have heard from some of her coworkers at both the cafeteria and the daycare center, she is very reliable and is more responsible than a few people I had assumed (because of what they look like) would have a great sense of responsibility. Another person I had stereotyped in the beginning of my freshman year is a cute guy I saw in one of my classes. From things I knew about cute guys in my high school and other high schools is that singing is not “cool” for guys to be interested in and being a jerk comes natural. I was gladly wrong about this particular guy. I ended up seeing him in another class: chorus, and he is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. He talks to everybody, even the loud girl with funny clothes and weird anecdotes that are not received with the laughter she expects when she adds them to any and every conversation she hears. Even that loud girl turned out different than I expected. I am not used to loud people because I always tried to stay away from them. I thought all loud people ever did was try to get attention and talk about their opinions on current events, especially politics, but I accidentally got into a conversation with that loud girl one day. I actually liked talking to her, and she didn’t shove her opinions in my face or try to put all the attention on herself. She really listened and looked like she cared about what I was saying.
I do not know what people think when they look at me, but I hope they do not think anything. I hope they will get to know me before any adjectives come to their minds. I have realized that stereotypes are just assumptions that have no factual basis, so there are no such things as stereotypes because, if given a chance, everybody can prove they are worth talking to and befriending. This I believe.
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