Mentoring Monday: How To Make a Good First Impression

How to Make a Good First Impression

Angelica Grau, School of Music Mentor


During your first few weeks of school you will meet a ton of new people: professors, ensemble members, directors, and friends. Upon meeting these people, you give them your first impression. This isn’t something that many people consciously think about, probably because of quotes similar to this one by my favorite author, Lemony Snicket: “I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

While I believe this to be very true, many of the people you meet will not exactly agree with me or Mr. Snicket. It is imperative that you make a good first impression, for any slip-ups could cause some real damage to your reputation. Allow me to give you three big tips to help you create a good name for yourself in Swope.


1. Appearances matter.

I know, getting up for that 8AM is hard. So you just roll out of bed and walk to class, clad in your PJ’s from the night before. Many people do this. You’ll see them in sweatpants and t-shirts on a regular basis. However, from conversations I’ve had with a handful of professors, they’re not the biggest fans of these students. One professor even went so far to tell me that, “I can tell the ones who wake up ten minutes before class by the way they dress. It shows in their performance in my class”. Unless you want to be branded as “that student,” I’d take a couple of minutes to choose an outfit in the morning. You don’t have to go all-out, but at least put some effort into it.


2. Watch your language.

This is probably the most important one. Yes, college is a lot different than high school. You’re an adult now. Regardless of this, foul language (A.K.A “swear words”) is not well-received. I have seen students swear during class and it really hits the ear wrong—not only to your fellow students, but to your professors too. Nobody likes a dirty mouth. Even if you are very frustrated at your aurals grade or at the piano piece you just can’t get, find some alternative words to replace those unforgivable. Not only will the School of Music be thankful, but your parents will too when you come home not speaking like a sailor.


3. Think about what you do and/or say before you do and/or say it.

Common sense, right? Many people forget. Being in a new place surrounded by new people may make you feel like you want to impress these people. You may do or say something that is outside of your usual comfort zone. At times, this can be a good thing! Maybe you’ll make a new friend, or hit it off with a professor. Other times your peers may find these as reckless. That joke you just made in the Swope lounge you thought would cause a riot just severely offended most of the people in the room. Did you talk back to your professor in class for no good reason? Expect future problems to arise if you don’t try and resolve it. Just use your head. Think about the consequences of your actions. Nobody is going to tell you how to act, so use your gut.


I don’t mean to scare you with threats of your reputation. I just want you to realize that people don’t forget. Ever. Not just in Swope, but in the real world. These years are the most important for your career as far as networking goes. Make the most of it! You can have fun, just be mindful of what you’re doing and how you come off to others.


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