I remember thinking about first impressions during the journey to college in August. Crammed in the captain seat of my parents’ minivan between all of my belongings, feeling eager, terrified, and already homesick, I could not help but worry about what people were going to think of me. I kept thinking that if I did not make the right first impressions, I would be screwed over for the rest of college, and subsequently the rest of my life – perhaps a little extreme, but I was anxious.
What I realized when I finally got here was that I had already judged other people based on my first impressions of them. Seeing people on the firstyear Facebook page all summer was a great way to learn a little more about who I would be spending the next four years of my life with, but I learned that I had already done the very thing that I was afraid others were going to do to me: judging by their appearances, what they posted on the page, and how often they would post on the page. I had already labeled a handful of people in my mind as “outcasts”, people I did not want to associate myself with.
Coming to college made me realize just how pointlessly judgmental I can be. I met the people I had resented and got to know them as fellow human beings instead of mere pictures on a screen. My first impressions of them over Facebook were completely wrong, and these people turned out to be remarkable individuals whom I am now honored to call my friends. I was disgusted with myself. I want to apologize to these people for being so incredibly disrespectful and inconsiderate. Being someone who claims to follow Christ and live out His teachings, I realize how un-Christ-like I can be at times without even recognizing what I’m doing; such horrible injustices can unfortunately come as second nature to me.
To wrap up this rambling sermon, I want us to resist judgment as much as we can. If you use Facebook, try not to use it as a way to get to know people, but rather as a way to improve the relationships you have made in real life. When you see someone for the first time, when you officially meet them, and even when you think you know them do your best to truly see them for who they are, not just who they seem to be. Think about how many problems would be solved if we all made a conscious effort to see each past our physical appearances or even how we act. If we all learn to relate to each other without such shallow, misleading realities, it would surely result in a more peaceful, loving, and Christ-like world.
Sam Swartzendruber, Style Editor