When Are Impressions Formed?
Impressions are formed very quickly when meeting someone. We do this on an unconscious level. We're usually not aware of it. As a student in a class of 20, 40 or more, your teacher likely won't form an impression of you that quickly as he or she may not even notice every student during the first class of the semester. Teachers' impressions of students are formed in the first couple of weeks of the semester. Specifically, teachers form expectations about what kind of student you are -- whether you are studious or a slacker. And they form impressions about what they can expect from you work wise -- will you submit stellar work, adequate work, of sub par work?
Why Do Impressions Matter?
Impressions can help or hurt you - regardless of whether you are a high school or undergraduate student. If a professor forms an initial impression that you are studious and responsible, that positive view will likely color his or her evaluation of your work. That's not to say that you can hand in shoddy work without facing negative consequences, but that the teacher is likely to appraise your work with the expectation that it will be solid. And a positive expectation can lead to a positive evaluation. Likewise, if a teacher has formed the impression that you are a lazy student, that negative impression can cloud his or her view. Perfectly adequate work may be colored by this negative impression and be evaluated more negatively than is merited.
How do you form a good impression? It's simple.
- Show up to class on time, preferably early so that you can converse with the professor before class begins
- Be attentive in class. Stay focused and more importantly appear focused -- that means no putting your head down, looking out the window, doodling
- Be respectful. No eye rolling, faces. Don't do out of class work -- no outside reading, checkbook balancing, etc.
- Submit assignments on time
- Sit towards the front of class. You don't have to sit in the first row, but sitting towards the front conveys interest and a desire to learn.
- Smile and be friendly -- teachers/professors are people too.