What I Learned At Ryerson: First Impressions Really Are A Big Deal

Ryerson University has been named one of Canada's best diversity employers for two years in a row.

Ryerson University has been named one of Canada’s best diversity employers for two years in a row.

The age-old saying “first impressions are everything” may not be true, but it definitely does have some merit to it. Throughout my four years at Ryerson, I’ve had to make numerous first impressions with new friends and professors and during job interviews.

The most important first impression I had at Ryerson wasn’t actually one that I made, but rather the first impression that the university made on me. Before coming to Ryerson, I had two options for where I really wanted to go to school. It was between Ryerson — which I heard had the best journalism program in Canada — and University of King’s College in Halifax.

Coming from a small city, King’s was always my first choice because I thought that going to a small university with a small campus would be the best option for me. I was worried that going to a big university would be too overwhelming.

Man, was I wrong. I went to the King’s open house and instantly hated the campus. Everything was wrong. It just didn’t feel right for me and I left feeling disappointed and even more terrified of going to university. Then I went to the Ryerson open house and I felt at home right away. I knew this was where I was meant to be and knew that I had to do everything in my power to get into the program.

The next first impression I had with Ryerson was my own. When I moved to the city, I moved here utterly alone. Not knowing anyone, I knew I needed to move out of my comfort zone to be able to make friends.

The first impression I made on everyone on my residence floor was being an eager person willing to reach out to everyone to make friends. I knocked on everyone’s door and introduced myself, which worked to some extent because I’m still friends with one of the first people I met back then.

While I had a good experience, fourth-year aerospace engineering student Scott Lindsay didn’t have such a great first impression of Ryerson.

“The big city was a little intimidating and the lack of on-campus activities made it hard for me to make friends,” he said. “Over the years though, I’ve built friendships through my program and my opinion of the school as a whole is a lot higher than it was in first year.”

In all the classes I’ve taken, there are professors who stand out because of the first impressions they have made on me, and there are those who I can’t remember because they didn’t really make any lasting impressions.

Some of the best professors I’ve had were the ones who introduced themselves with a bang. And some of the worst professors I’ve had either tried too hard to connect with students or didn’t try hard enough and were full of themselves.

One thing I will say about impressions is that while they are super important, they are not everything. Some people can seem great based on a first impression and turn out to be jerks, or maybe they aren’t so great at first impressions but they are amazing people. I completely believe that people are like books — if you judge them by their “covers” you may be missing out on a fabulous adventure.

I like to live my life by one simple philosophy — it’s not my place to judge people because you never know what’s going on in their lives that you can’t see. This is why I’m willing to get to know someone even if they’re not good at making first impressions because I don’t want to miss out on something great.

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