We’ve finished the first week of classes of this young semester, and I’m sure you’re all wondering the same thing I am: “Am I a bad person for making judgments about everyone in my classes?”

You’ve been told your entire life that judging people is wrong. I hate to be that guy, but it’s time for you to unlearn this sagely advice.

Well, not completely. Everyone has plenty of depth beyond what we see in a lecture, and if we judge someone based solely on outward appearance, and with limited exposure, we aren’t getting the whole picture.

But to answer your question, no, you aren’t a bad person. Consider your situation. It’s the first day of class, you’ve taken your seat in a classroom, and whether it’s a 200-person lecture or a small discussion, everyone’s a stranger, the professor hasn’t arrived and the silence is palpable.

So what, your mind is wandering to all the work you’re going to have to do for this class? You’re perusing the syllabus, mapping out your semester?

Let’s get real. You aren’t doing any of this. As every next person walks into the room, you stare them down intently, trying to figure out every facet of their life. Immediately, you try to determine if they’re in a fraternity or sorority, where they live on campus, where they’re from, etc.

And all our lives, we’ve been taught that this is some heinous act. But really, I can’t think of anything more harmless.

It’s human nature to judge people and things. You see something and you start to draw conclusions about it, or him or her. So don’t fight your instincts. Let these judgments take over, but consider two important rules.

The only thing that makes judging people acceptable is context. According to the statistics — meaning, the bullshit I’m about to concoct that’s probably true anyway — you will never have a personal, long-term friendship or relationship with most of the people in your classes.

That said, let’s examine the first rule: don’t act upon your judgments. Which is to say, keep them in your head, and nowhere else. Judging people is only harmless if you let it be so. It’s not just about keeping your judgments to yourself, you can’t let them determine how you interact with people.

In a discussion-based class, we may not agree with what someone has to say, but it’s important to rebuke only the argument, not the person behind it.

The second rule is an interpretation of a pre-existing law, the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Put more bluntly, if you want to dish it out, you’ve got to be able to take it.

Part of making judgments about people is having the social awareness to understand that plenty of people are making judgments about you. Yes, people are evaluating you whether or not you’re making judgments about them, and to believe there is no give and take is to be ignorant.

Personally, I like to keep an ordinary profile during the first week of classes. I’ll wear ordinary clothing, raise my hand only sparingly and let people do the judging from there. However you’d like to be perceived is up to you, but know that you are being judged.

The digital age has made it difficult to avoid judgment. Those of us who saw “The Social Network” learned that Facebook was created because a drunk, angsty Mark Zuckerberg wanted people to be judged — or at least, that’s what Aaron Sorkin wants us to believe, but I’ll take his word for it.

There are no “judgment-free zones” anymore. Embrace that fact. Nobody is a saint, but we’re all judges.