Minus the City: Reputation

Helen Misiewicz, Assistant Commentary Editor

“Sovereign debt isn’t the only place where reputation matters… it’s pretty important for your dating life, too.” I would say that I have become pretty desensitized to talking about hookup culture on campus, but when my Economics professor starts talking about it during a lecture… that’s when you know this culture has become predominant at Colgate. 

We started class by talking about fiscal policy and debt. When a student asked how the United States is able to garner so much debt, financed by loans from other countries, our professor had a straightforward answer. It comes down to reputation. The United States has built a strong reputation in being able to return payments and overall trust in the U.S. economy has remained relatively constant, so lenders feel secure to loan our government more and more money. Even though we have an enormous debt to GDP ratio, we also have the benefit of the reputation of being “the greatest nation in the world” and “advanced.” 

Basically the United States has developed a great reputation based on its credibility and reliance. But, what does a “good reputation” look like when applied to hookup culture? Does it mean that you have hooked up with a lot of people? Or have you hooked up with the right people?

I genuinely feel that in order to have a good reputation, you have to be honest with yourself. No matter what you do, people are going to have their own opinions about you. If you hook up with a lot of people, they might believe you crave attention. If you don’t hook up with anyone, then people might say that you’re a loner. Ultimately, we can’t let other people determine our reputation because they’re always going to be finding some fault in our actions. But if you can be honest with yourself and understand the person you want to be, then your reputation will precede you (in the best way possible). 

At a school like Colgate, it’s hard to be involved in the social scene independent of your dating life. I’ve met a lot of people over the past two years just from the fact that my friends were hooking up with them, and I’m sure there are people who would say the same for me. I think that my professor was right to say that in your dating life, your reputation is important. But, “dating life” is completely different than the social scene that exists at Colgate. Hookups are inconsequential and often times meaningless. In order to have a good reputation on this campus, that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. 

Some of us prefer to have meaningless encounters at parties. Others prefer more exclusivity and monogamy. Neither way is either right or wrong. Yet, one thing has to remain true in order to have a good reputation: you have to be true to yourself. There is no way that you can have a credible reputation if you try to be something that you’re not. Accept who you are, and don’t try try to change that. Just be grateful your individual reputation doesn’t determine trillions of dollars of debt.

Contact Helen Misiewicz at [email protected].