My roommate sucks. That guy from Encounters wrote the most nonsensical blog post. She must have a great sense of humor because she watches Saturday Night Live. He’s super flirtatious and probably has no intention of really getting to know me.
I admit it. I make judgments when I first meet people (though the above depictions are fictitious). Like everyone, I want to get to know the people I’ll be living with for the next four years, and sometimes I make premature evaluations.
With three weeks of college life under my belt, what do I really know about anyone? What grocery items they keep in the lounge refrigerator? What they wrote on the Class of 2017 Facebook timeline? In actuality, I know very little about the incoming class, but I’m still tempted to use my surface-level knowledge to find friends.
But that’s a risky idea.
First impressions are poor indicators of personality. Three weeks is simply not enough time for anyone to display their genuine character. Only a first layer is visible.
I cringe to think of the assumptions one could make based on my first layer. I probably come across as a blonde New Yorker who loves country music and Mountain Dew. While this is accurate, I do not want my friendships based on this information. This basic profile excludes my infantile humor, deepest insecurities and love for long walks outdoors. These are large parts of my personality and they’re understandably not obvious to someone who just met me.
If we could identify our friends based on surface-level characteristics, the Office of Admission could save us the hassle of Orientation by sending us a list of names of our future friends along with our acceptance letters.
Hold up! If we know so little about each other, who do I ask to hang out? How do I choose where to sit during lunch?
It’s a tough question. Follow your gut, but stay open (pay attention, this is wise advice from a hypocritical columnist). It will be a while before we truly know each other down to the nitty-gritty. It’s going to take a few more section dinners where you and your friends shamelessly dress like farm animals, study sessions where someone stops what they’re doing to help you solve a difficult chemistry equation and late-night conversations over chocolate milk and some microwavable food item before we begin to have a better idea of each other’s personalities. That’s okay with me.
Who knows? Maybe that guy from Encounters didn’t have time to analyze “Frankenstein” because he was helping someone with their lab report. Maybe that flirtatious guy just has a touchy personality. Or maybe he really is flirtatious, but is also incredibly loyal and trustworthy and ends up being your closest confidant. It’s just too early to know.