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A Teen's View

Judging

Kat Dart

(5/2010) At the end of the school day, students tend to get antsy- theyíre talking about what theyíre going to go that night, and what homework they have.

At 2:16 on a Friday, itís even worse. People are done with going to school, waiting anxiously for the bell to signal they are going to be off for two days.

They are usually talking about planned events, be it a two day trip, a party, or just working. They are talking when they are leaving and where they are going to go. Friends quickly make fast plans for sleepovers or going to the movies.

Finally, students are at their worst on the last day of school. Right before summer vacation, the tension is nearly tangible. After a year of early wake-up calls, homework, schoolwork, Ďdemonicí teachers and the monotonous routine of going from class to class in the same pattern everyday students are done with school. They are ready for the best time of year we lovingly refer to as summer vacation.

After a twelve-week vacation, the first thing I usually hear from my friends is Ďoh my gosh, youíve changed so muchí, followed by commentary about whether or not Iíve managed to tan versus whether Iíve burned, my newest hair color and style, and the pictures of trips Iíve taken that are on facebook.

I usually follow this conversation with how much better someone looks after not seeing them for a few months, then a fast comparison of schedules before going to class.

However, above is a fairly basic description of physical changes. Summer vacation is also a time for significant mental changes.

Early this year, going into sophomore year, I noticed that everyone I knew from freshman year had just calmed down. Most of us, I think, had matured enough to see that some of the things that were so important last year just didnít matter anymore.

As well as witnessing them in other people, I think itís amazing to actually have seen the differences in myself. I think in between freshman and sophomore year I became a lot less spastic and definitely a lot less high strung. I believe that I will continue to watch myself mature into a much calmer, collected person.

What about you? Can you see yourself changing through the years, through the influence of your friends and family and experiences? Do you see the differences in yourself from last year and now?

Because I think the best way to judge a person is not by first impressions and not by actions, but rather by comparing who they used to be to who they are now.

If a person has gone through many experiences, good and bad, and has come out stronger and better than before, that is a person I want to know.

If people admit thereís a lot about their character to change and they need to change because theyíre not the people they want to be, those are the kind of people I want to know.

But how does someone get to be the person he or she is today?

Maybe it is because life is about learning and forming your own set of morals and own trains of thought. You develop these on your own, and they may be influenced by other people but not directed.

I believe a person usually has his or her own thoughts and ideals which (s)he will not allow to be bent because of anything anyone says- these are lessons that a person has learned on his or her own, not through any type of interference or lectures, not through teachers or peers or friends.

Following these personal ideals is what makes a person what (s)he is today, and as (s)he develops his or her ideals into solid and unbreakable fixtures, it becomes his or her creed or set of morals that he or she will follow, not to please anyone else but him or herself.

Sometimes, it is difficult to find what rules a person will follow without bending them. It may seem like a person doesnít have any at times. I have thought that about a few people, only to be surprised later when it turns out they have a loose set of rules to follow and will try to impose them on their group of friends.

For example, some people I know used to play a game on the bus, and Iíll just leave the details at that. I rolled my eyes but couldnít interfere, as I had tried to before and it sure didnít work.

Imagine my surprise when I heard the groupís supposed leader, someone I had considered a self-important jerk, shout, "No donít do that, thereís small kids right there."

First impressions (and second, and third, and fourth) donít give a really good story of the person youíre looking at.

The above story actually added a rule to my own personal list: You can judge someone based on a first impression, but donít set it in stone. Not yet.

Read Other Articles by Kat Dart