Everyone deserves a chance

Katie - Ankeny, Iowa
Entered on October 6, 2008

I believe that every person deserves a second chance past the first impression.

Growing up in a world focused mainly on appearances, it can be hard to focus on anything else within the first few minutes of meeting someone. It is often said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. While this is true, why should we believe everything we see when we first encounter a person? How can we be sure that we truly know that person or what kind of person they are after meeting them just one time?

When I was in the first grade, my neighbors were moving. They sold their house to a family with three children: an older daughter and younger twins, a boy and girl. My mother had told me that the twins were my age and I was very anxious to meet them. A few weeks passed after the house was sold and finally the new neighbors moved in.

One day in early winter, when I was about six years old, I was playing in the snow outside of the neighbors’ house. I noticed that one of the new neighbors had slowly pulled back the blinds, just enough to see out, and was now watching me. She immediately closed them when she realized I was looking right back at her. I told my mother about seeing this new stranger and I remember asking her why the girl was so frightened to see me. I was afraid that she didn’t like me and we wouldn’t be friends. After that day, I’d tried to avoid her.

My mother had talked to me and encouraged me to introduce myself to the new neighbor. I saw her around for a few days and finally built up the courage to talk to her. Surprisingly, she was very talkative and we had a lot in common. From that day forward, the neighbor, Tiffany, and I were best friends. We are still best friends to this day.

Often, being so quick to judge a person can make it easy to miss the smaller things that really make up who they are. Samuel Johnson said, “Few have strength of reason to overrule the perceptions of sense, and yet fewer have curiosity or benevolence to struggle long against the first impression: he who therefore fails to please in his salutation and address is at once rejected, and never obtains an opportunity of showing his latest excellences or essential qualities.”

When I was able to actually meet my neighbor, I was able to see who she really was, instead of my impression of her when we first met. I believe that first impressions aren’t important and should not define a person.