The Mr. McAlister Principle: The Peril of Jumping to Conclusions

My sophomore year at Pensacola Christian College, I took a course called copy writing. The teacher was a gentleman named Stephen McAlister, who taught broadcasting classes at college and had performed in plays. He also had just completed a master’s degree in communications from the University of West Florida.

I didn’t know Mr. McAlister personally, nor had I ever had him as a teacher before. However, a roommate who was a broadcasting major had had him for a few classes. “Alan” didn’t like Mr. McAlister and told me lots of stories.

I’m sure Alan had good reasons for his opinion, but as I began the class I brought with myself my own conclusions of how Mr. McAlister would be. I’d already decided I didn’t like him and that he was a lousy teacher. Everything he did, to me, was “wrong”.

What a great attitude to have, right?

I ended up with a C+ in the class, and one that was well deserved.

I don’t say I worked hard to earn the C+, but rather I received the grade that matched the effort I put out.

It was indeed a painful learning experience, but it taught me something. No matter how many opinions you’ve heard of a person already, approach them with an open mind. Allow them the chance of proving themselves to you. Had I done that, I probably would’ve enjoyed Mr. M’s class far more and may have even earned a better grade. None of us likes people to form premature opinions about us, so it’s unfair for us to do the same to others.

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