Perhaps it’s just my small town southern upbringing coming into play here, but I feel that I am the only one on campus who notices how often you can meet someone, whether at a party or through a mutual friend, and then a couple days later observe how quickly it takes for them to act like they don’t notice you when you walk by.
When I first arrived at the start of this school year, this phenomenon was something to which I took a lot of offense to. More importantly, it was something I could not understand. In a small town, you know a good number of the population. When you meet someone for the first time, no matter how casual the meeting is, it’s often a given that the second time you run into each other, you will at the very least say hello, and often times, you’ll even stop and have a conversation. I am not sure if this is unique to small towns or if it’s just how it is in my hometown because I have never lived anywhere but there and on this campus. Either way, I do not understand why this is happening. How else are we going to get to truly know each other in a meaningful way?
It also could be that a lot of people on campus would rather not take the time to get to know someone who is not consistently in one of their circles of friends. College is time-consuming for all students. Everyone is busy with studying and a variety of activities, but is it too much to ask for a friendly “hello” in passing if we had a conversation in the Starbucks line just the other day? Who knows, we could turn out to become great friends.
Another thought is that if you met someone once or twice, you probably do not actually know them at all. This is why I feel that a lot of students make judgments about people based purely on hearsay.
I had the experience, for example, of telling a friend a story that involved a friend who was from a different circle of friends, so I asked if he had met who I was talking about, and they said something like, “He sat next to me in my bio class once and asked me a stupid question about the material… he seemed sort of weird.”
I think it is just unfair that we as people make these judgments without actually knowing anything about the person. I have caught myself making such associations with the student who answers all of the professor’s questions perfectly in front of the entire lecture hall, for example. With this case, I later got to know the guy, and he and I are now great friends.
This is a great example, and I know that this is probably not typical, but it does show that the only way to “know” someone was to actually get to know someone.
Papay is a member of the class of 2016.