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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU: Alum ‘Redefines the First Impression’ in TEDx Talk

Five seconds is all it takes to form a first impression of someone, says Boston University School of Public Health alum Ms. Quita Christison. And in those brief moments, we often make judgements about others that lead to regrettable actions when those opinions are inaccurate.

The solution, says Ms. Christison, is right before our eyes: Whenever we encounter new people, we should take a second to STOP — as in, See the Other Person.

A youth engagement activist based in Cambridge, MA, Ms. Christison presented this idea during TEDxPortsmouth, an independently organized spin-off of the online TED Talks, which gather speakers to share ideas about the arts, science, humanity, and entrepreneurship.

Titled “The New 5 Second Rule: Redefining the First Impression,” Ms. Christison’s presentation has garnered almost 68,000 views in less than two months. Part of her inspiration for the nine-minute talk spurred from personal experiences she has endured throughout her life. Ms. Christison and her brother were born with pycnodysotosis (PKND), an extremely rare genetic disorder that is characterized by brittle bones and a short stature.

“Being petite, but proportional, people always mistake me for a child because they’re not actually taking the time to look at me,” says Ms. Christison. “If people could pause for just one moment to see me for who I am, that would make a world of difference.”

Ms. Christison embraced the acronym “STOP” to encourage people to react to people in the same way they react to a Stop sign: pause, observe their surroundings, and appropriately act. She envisions “STOP” as an effective reminder to people that they have control of the way they interpret their environment, form their own opinions, and react to certain situations.

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