Throughout high school, and my life, I have been labeled as “the funny guy” and “the Jew.” The two may not immediately seem connected, but for a socio-historical reason that is far beyond my knowledge, the religion of Judaism has produced more than its fair share of funny men (and women). In my case, I had a bad habit in high school of “interrupting” the lessons on occasion in order to say my funny piece on whatever we were learning that day (please note that humor is subjective, so whatever I had to say was funny to me). Whether the subject was James Garfield, the psychology of relationships, or the Electoral College, I usually had a witty (again, subjective) reply. Prior to senior yearbook signing, I hadn’t thought much of these comments. There was a clear trend in the signatures. The vast majority of the comments included something along the lines of “You’re so funny.” Yes, I felt validated by having people compliment my humor -- who doesn’t love some good, old external validation -- but there were no signatures complimenting me on my intelligence, something else I pride myself on. To be fair, you don’t expect high school seniors to compliment one another on their intellig...
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...y to be less disruptive in class, however). I also don’t mind being known as the “ Jewish Guy.” I’m proud of my faith, and I even signed up for Hillel (that may have been due to my father’s nagging, but that is beside the point). More importantly though, I want to be known as more than just those two simple modifiers. I want people to know me as the friend who will always have his or her back. As the student who always works hard in class to get the best grade he can. As the person who is a caring and all-around upstanding person. I want to be complex enough that I can’t be described in just a few short words or phrases.
Unfortunately, we do not get to choose how other people think of us. All we can do is treat each other well and hope that others form a favorable opinion. College is a great blank slate, with lots of new ideas, new people, and maybe even a new you.
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