Name Game

I’ve always been called Sarah, ever since I can remember.  There aren’t very many alternatives, and it’s such a quick name that it can’t be shortened into something catchier.  So I can fully admit to the fact that I am, confidently, a “Sarah.”

All of this changed the first day of Dorm Crew.  I’d just arrived via the Dartmouth Coach bus (which is absolutely incredible), and the sudden downpour had ended, leaving Canaday courtyard open for exploration and games.  A group of dorm-crewers got together, nervously or excitedly extending hands and smiles to these strangers we’d all soon call friends.  We did a quick run-through of names before starting our game of Ninja and, not to my surprise, half of the girls were named Sarah.  Suddenly, it was my turn to give my name, and before I could even think, my last name popped out of my mouth.  And in one instant, I was transformed from “Sarah” to “Reid.”

Just chillin' at Convocation

It was peculiar, at first, saying my name out loud, and seeing the interest on people’s faces.  Sometimes they’d ask for my last name, and I had to quickly explain my situation; some understood (mostly those called John or Katie), others thought it was a hare-brained scheme and insisted I be called by my first name.  But over the course of a few hours, my identity had been completely altered; it was as if someone had raked over the letters written in the sand and hurriedly scrambled to rewrite them.

Days later, I didn’t respond to my name, and blushed a bright red when it had to be repeated twice.  On the other hand, I’ve had to catch myself before saying, “hey, it’s Reid” on a voicemail to my friends from home, or when I sign an email or a paper.

They say college is a time to make a new identity, to transform into another version of yourself, but I say it’s a time to have a different name.  A new name doesn’t necessarily mean a new you—it certainly wasn’t that way for me—but while I keep thinking that only my name has changed, I know that’s no longer true.  So much has happened in these past few weeks that I can now fully admit to the fact that I am, confidently, “Reid.”

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