The Struggles of Having a Wicked Long Name

Having a long name is both a blessing and a curse. It's unique but can be quite bothersome. As a kid, I would have a hard time trying to get others to use my full name because people would not bother to learn its pronunciation. Often times, I fluctuated between my full name and multiple nicknames. Although I hated having a difficult name growing up, I now realize that other people share mutual struggles.

1. Most people never try to get your name right.

I honestly can’t remember how many people I’ve had to repeat my name to over and over again because they weren’t able to get it the first few times. What I can remember is that even after repeating both my full name and nickname, some people just can’t get it right. In my freshman year of college, I had a professor who would read out the roster every class for attendance. Naturally, I knew that my professor would have a difficult time with my name the first few weeks of class. Instead of my name, he would call me “Christian” or “Christine,” which I get all the time. After watching him struggle, I told him to call me by my nickname, “Christi.” For some reason, he wouldn’t call me by my shorter name and continued to struggle all semester. I still don’t get why he was so confused about my name.

2. Scantrons are not user-friendly if you have a long name.

Real talk: I internally scream every time an exam is done on a Scantron. My first name is ten letters and my last name is eight — having to bubble in each letter takes me a lot longer than others. When exams are handed out at the same time as the Scantron, I’m still filling in the bubbles for the name section while others are starting the exam. When I have friends in my classes, I notice that they put in their first name, last name, and middle initial. Since my name is 18 characters, I don’t have the option to put in my middle initials. Did I mention I have two middle names?

3. Your name is either cut off or takes up too much space on documents.

Altogether, I have four names: first, two middle and a last. A lot of the time, a few letters are cut off on my first name so that it fits on documents. Since my name is modified, people usually have to verify that I am the person stated in the documentation. If my name isn’t cut off, it tends to take up a lot of space. For example, my high school diploma has a smaller font than normal in order to accommodate every character. Often times, I find that people combine my second middle name and last name to save as much space as possible.

4. Some people only know you by your nickname.

Sometimes it’s easier to only introduce yourself by your nickname. Since a lot of people can never pronounce or remember how to say my name, going by “Christi” puts a stop to the inevitable conversation of repeating my name and its pronunciation. Although I love my name and think it's something personal to me, I typically introduce myself with my nickname unless I am in a professional setting. In my opinion, if you're at an interview, job fair, doctor’s visit, or anywhere else that is a professional setting, use your full name. If the occasion is laid-back, I would go with a nickname. In all honesty, I seriously can’t imagine repeating and spelling out my full name every time I went to Starbucks — it would not end well.

Even though it gets tricky, I’ve learned that having an unusual first name definitely makes you unique, and over time, you will be comfortable introducing yourself with your wicked long name. Regardless of the struggles and as weird as it sounds, there are plenty of people out there with names even longer than yours who can relate.

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