I believe in not judging a book by its cover. Over the years, I have judged many people on their appearances. Although I knew it was wrong, it was inevitable for me to do so, consciously and unconsciously. I finally learned my lesson through some experiences at Beaver Lake.
I can still clearly remember my first day of first grade. I was so excited to go to a new school and had all my fresh school supplies and new clothes on, and marched straight into class. All the parents were snapping away at their cameras to catalogue this big moment. We were big kids now! I found my seat was excited to find out who I sat by. A little later, a girl walked in w/ an eye path with a unicorn on it and 4 missing front teeth. My first thoughts were along the lines of “She looks like a pirate!” and “I hope she isn’t by me…” It turned out that the girl with the blue eye patch sat right next to me. Appalled by her appearance (I was only missing one tooth and my eyes were fine), I talked as little as possible to her and stayed away from her as much as possible. Within a few months, the school district rezoned Klahanie and she switched elementary schools and all was well.
Many years passed and I forgot about her, and soon the first day of middle school arrived. Once again, excited to enter a big, new school with fresh school supplies and brand new “cool” clothes, I headed towards the building, this time embarrassed by my mom, trying to get me to pose for pictures, as were other kids parents. Shooing her away, I boldly marched inside. First period, I sat down, according to the seating chart next to a girl about my height with brown hair. We talked a bit and were joking around- we got along very well. Then she mentioned how when she was in first grade, she had an eye patch with a unicorn on it and lots of kids thought she was really weird. It was then that it struck me that this fun-loving, A-team soccer playing girl was blue eye-patch girl from first grade! I was shocked. I explained to her how I sat by her and we had a good laugh. Now, soccer loving, funny, exciting eye-patch girl is still one of my best friends, and I’ve learned how to not judge people by their appearances at a first glance without giving them a chance.
Another instance where I have judged someone by their first appearance was when I first saw my 7th grade humanities and ASB advisor teacher, Mrs. Bach. I was an officer for the first time that year and had met some of the 8th grade officers who jokingly told me stories about how Mrs. Bach was really mean and scary. When I met her, I felt intimidated by her strong booming voice, outgoingness, and her camouflage pants while talking to us officers, and was afraid to talk to her alone. Finally, a time came in Leadership where our groups had to meet with one of our two advisors to talk to them about our progress on our projects. Unfortunately, the other three members of my group were absent that day so I had to meet with a teacher alone. Hoping to avoid Mrs. Bach, I headed towards Ms. Thomas, the other advisor, who then steered me towards Mrs. Bach, telling me that she had to run some errands in the school and that I would have to meet with Mrs. Bach. Absolutely terrified, I met with Mrs. Bach and after getting to know her, I found that she was one of the kindest, most inspirational teachers I have ever had and really enjoyed being her student. I enjoyed her class the whole year and had a great time with her in Leadership as well. After that incident, I have learned that I shouldn’t judge peers but that I shouldn’t judge adults as well. Overall, from a variety of experiences in middle school, I have learned to not judge people too quickly by their appearances or to make flash judgments about them without getting to know more about them myself.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.