“Never judge a book by its cover.” Extraordinary people are constantly judged like books, hidden by their ordinary covers. We have been told not to be judgmental, but we still view others by their physical characteristics. “We should look to the mind, and not to the outward appearance” (Aesop). I have been guilty of this in the past, but I have changed.
I was finishing my final English assignment last April. Suddenly I heard my favorite words, “You’ve got mail.” The email was from Brigham Young University Housing. The instructions read to click on a bed and a room in Chipman Hall. My fingers were shaking. Freshman year relies on this click of the mouse, I told myself. This click selects the girl that I’ll be living with for nine months.
Two empty beds called my name. Each available bed was in a different room; 2119 and 2117, and I couldn’t decide. I’ve always been indecisive, so I said a quick prayer to help me feel good about my decision. I finally checked on 2119 because it was closer to the bathroom. There was no other information about my roommate online, only her name and email address. I kept my attitude positive and pondered whether or not to email her.
My friend Megan had been emailing her new roommate. She pulled out a picture of her. Megan said, “She’s so pretty, so I know we’ll have fun.” I hoped my roommate was fun and pretty, too. I contacted my new roommate; but instead of asking her for a picture of herself, I asked her what she liked to do. She sincerely replied back explaining her love for the piano, classical music, and school. Her likes were the opposite of mine. Since we were both from Utah, we decided to meet before school started to see our dorm room and get acquainted.
I tried to look “pretty” so Natalie would like me. If she thought I was attractive, then I knew we’d start off on the right foot. As I arrived at Helaman Halls, Natalie was just stepping out of a white camry. She had long, stringy, greasy hair, a larger nose, and didn’t smell pleasant. My first thought was, how can this girl have a fun personality if she’s not pretty? We spent an hour together talking and didn’t have a single awkward moment. I was sitting with a stranger, yet I could see her personality blooming as we spoke. We looked at our dorm room, took pictures, and hugged.
After meeting Natalie, my fears were calmed. I realized how unfair I had been to her and to others in the past. Since living with my new roommate, I’ve never met a more fun, kind or Christ like girl in my life. I have gained a best friend in an unpredictable process. I know I was supposed to pick room 2119 to realize this truth. I believe in inner beauty.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.