My name is Elizabeth. I went by that name all through my childhood and teenage years. As I neared the end of high school, I began to get sick of Elizabeth. I found it to be sort of difficult to say and I didn’t think it fit my personality. In my senior year, I decided that when I got to college I would go by Lizy. I knew for sure I wasn’t a Beth or a Liz. And I didn’t want to spell my name Lizzie. So I picked Lizy. When I shared this information with my friends and family, I was met with either ambivalence (“sure, it’s your name”) or slight contempt (“That’s not how Lizzie is spelled,” “everyone will call you Lies-E”). My mother told me of a student she once knew who changed his name to “King” when he got to college.
When I got to college, it was an easier switch than I had imagined. I set my facebook name as Lizy Yagoda, introduced myself as Lizy and put that name on all of my papers. Several people from my high school also went to Vassar and did have some trouble crossing over to the Lizy side, but they soon became used to calling me by my chosen name.
I did have some trouble with the transition. My first semester freshman year I did not get home-sick, I got name-sick. There was a part of me that wanted to be called Elizabeth still, and I was having trouble responding when people called me Lizy. I can rely on my family to call me Elizabeth, no matter how long it’s been since my friends have. Some of my friends from high school still call me Elizabeth, but it fits.
It’s odd to think of us students as having other names. Many people I know have made changes. Katherines turn into Kats or Kates. Andrews into Andys or Drews. Some people even switch from first names to middle names. I suppose it is all how you introduce yourself.
My friends in high school had trouble seeing me as anything other than Elizabeth and my friends in college can’t believe that I was ever anything but Lizy.