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Names (The Downfall of my Social Interactions on Campus)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at RIT chapter.

Be active on campus they say. Meet new people they say. Get involved in this or be a part of that. However, there is one downfall to all of this: remembering people’s names.

Struggles of Being Deaf and Hearing names

As a Deaf person who uses both spoken language and sign language to communicate with others, it can be hard to understand people when they tell me their name for the first time. People will speak too quietly. They might mumble or speak too quickly, or they have a name I have never heard before which makes it harder to repeat back in my head to remember later on.

While my campus is very diverse, being that we have a large Deaf population on campus (with its own college dedicated towards it), some people have never interacted with a Deaf person before. That can make it hard to emphasize speaking up, fingerspelling their name, or repeating themselves when someone asks. It makes you look like the bad person when all you really want is to know who they are and remember them.

The more People You Meet = More Names

To say I know a lot of people on campus is an understatement. Due to my work and club involvement, I interact with 50%-75% of campus on a daily basis. I talk to and have long conversations with a good 25%-30% of those people. Making sure I say the right name to the right person can be a struggle.

Once I get to know you, it isn’t too much of a problem. The trouble occurs when I first meet someone and I’ll have to re-interact with them. I will not remember who someone is until I have 2 or 3 interactions with them (with their name being brought up multiple times). I can remember their face and what they were wearing when I met them, but that is about it. I feel bad but all I can say is that I am a visual person and auditory discernment is not high on my list of things I excel at.

Erase the Stigma

I am tired of people thinking that just because I don’t remember their name, I am a bitch or I’m inconsiderate. Or I don’t care, or I don’t put the effort in, etc. I am sick and tired of it because it is not true.

Everyone learns and remembers things at their own pace. I want to form meaningful connections with others. I want to learn the story of you, through your name and beyond. But for me to be able to do that, you need to accept the fact that it will take me time to process, remember, and apply your name to your face. Give me a chance and let me form a connection with you.

I'm a creative writer at heart and love to write about my experiences around me! My only flaw about this, is I tend to procrastinate sitting down and writing it out!