What defines who you are? Is it the school you attend? Is it the clothes you wear or the music you like? Could it even be something as simple as your favorite color?
In my first grade class, one could choose from only two colors: blue or pink. All the girls chose pink and almost all the boys chose blue - except for one.
John Simpson chose pink - a decision, I'm sure, he did not regret one bit. Once the news was out, girls swarmed around him like flies around honey. The rest of the boys couldn't help but admire him.
At that time, I secretly did not care for the color pink at all. (My favorite color was green.) His groundbreaking revelation affected me in a very different way. His choosing pink was such a clever move. It made me respect him not only for his out-spoken style, but also for his strategic thinking.
Needless to say, during my first grade days, pink was definitely the color du jour.
Then the unthinkable happened. John made another shocking revelation.
He liked Rebecca Carlson, my best friend that month, more than he liked me. He liked her straight blond hair. Of course, she wasn't about to turn down the ardent advances of the Carnation Pink Hunk.
Since that horrid encounter, I have despised the color pink and been suspicious of blond girls.
What does this all mean?
Very early in childhood, experiences mold the person one will inevitably become. It is only now that I actually realize it on a personal level.
Everything in life is connected.
Would I like pink if John had chosen me? Would I be suspicious of blond girls if he hadn't told me why he liked Rebecca the Traitor?
Was I just easily influenced? After all, why did I like him? Was it really because of his strategic thinking or was it because my friends thought he was God's gift to Mrs. Bryan's first grade class?
Why does it matter?
It matters because it's a pattern. Of course, the areas of influence remain just as ordinary as they were during elementary school. Colors are now a thing of the past. I've finally moved on to music.
Let us examine the Goo Goo Dolls' popular song "Iris." I think the song is very insightful. I can relate to the lyrics, and it pleases me.
Even so, I just can't listen to it anymore.
It isn't because I am sick of hearing it played a thousand times a day. It has nothing to do with that.
A good friend told me that she associates the singer with a sexually transmitted disease. Her association is, as she readily admits, completely unjustified and unfounded.
Combine her vision with a heart-breaking ordeal with a guy forever to be known as "The Monster," and I am left without the capability to hear a really good song.
It's strange. I have always thought I was an independent thinker, never swayed on any serious issue. Knowing personal things about the president, for example, does not affect my support for him at all.
Like I said, everything in life is connected.
Mahmoudi, a junior French and German major, relishes connections. She can be reached at