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The 7 Nicknames You Meet in College

When I talk to my friends from home about the people I go to school with, it usually sounds like I’m talking in code. If you’re like my friends and me, you call everyone from your closest pals to your random acquaintances by anything other than their actual names. But there’s no need to be confused by this cast of creatively named characters. The truth is, most of the weird Wildcat nicknames you know fall into these seven categories, here with real-life examples from around campus. 

A visitor to my study carrel leaves a message that I promise is for me and not for a Japanese emoticon.

1. The “my last name is my first name”

You refer to this guy by his first name to one of his frat brothers and he responds, “who?” This person normally has a louder personality than his or her common first name would suggest. Available in the standard last name format, like Schlerf or Burke, or in the slightly-shortened variety, like Seeks or Grubes.

2. The “my school email address is my name”

Those email formulas are just nickname generators in disguise. Davidson’s first-two-letters-of-first-name-plus-last-name combo creates some serious winners, especially if your last name is only a syllable or two and if you’re friends with a lot of Carolines (I see you cazee and caey).

3. The “my initials are my name”

Because all the other letters are just extraneous. It takes a bold soul to use the same nickname formula as legends like JFK and NPH. You are that bold soul, API.

4. The “my Twitter handle is my name”

Which came first, the nickname or the Twitter handle? It doesn’t matter, because whether we’re swapping 140-character quips or long late-night convos, you will always be Collieflower and Tosh.o to me.

5. The “my pledge task is my name”

As a new member of a Greek organization, you voluntarily agreed to a certain task that helped you gain fame or infamy among your brothers or sisters. This name might stay within your organization or it might spread beyond your Eating House walls. Just ask my mom, who is definitely not a member of Warner Hall but who nevertheless calls me Emoji.

6. The “someone drunkenly called me this one time and now it’s my nickname”

The details of this night might be tough to remember, but it gave you a nickname that no one will forget. This is the only explanation I can think of for why a particular male friend is now referred to as Tina in certain circles. 

7. The “it would take too long for me to explain to you how long I got this nickname”

Remember the Office episode where Michael explains how he gave Darryl the nickname “Mitta Rogers?” Some things are better left unexplained. Right, Soggy?

Bonus: The “surprise! this name that you’ve always thought is my first name has been my middle name all along”

And you might be friends with this person for years before you find out. I’m looking at you, John Murphy and George Parker. 


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