“Next in line please.”
My older sister motions that they’re talking to me, but I’m too wrapped up in the ambiance of Georgetown’s beautiful campus to notice.
"The day before an intense summer experience starts."
It’s the day before an intense summer experience starts: an entire semester’s worth of courses in just three weeks. I’m in front of a glass building waiting in line to sign in, receive my dorm key, and get my program’s lanyard with my meal swipe card.
I was gazing in awe upon collegiate Gothic architecture that I had never seen before. My eyes darted about, as they only knew the geography of the two towns I call home; its fields that served for epic pick-up football games, and its hills I skateboarded throughout for the past few summers. It felt like being alone in a new city.
Because I mean, c’mon it’s summer!
At the same time, I was full of anxiety. I didn’t want this experience to be solely filled with rigorous all-nighters drowning in assignments from my Media and Politics class. Because I mean, c’mon it’s summer! I hoped for the atmosphere to feel more like camp and not school. I was looking forward to possible social interactions with students who came from all different places around the world!
My sister nudges me again to tell me to pay attention.
“The next person in line, would you please step up and sign in,” said with a hiss of annoyance, by a man I would later identify as my RA.
I walk up and am welcomed with a, “Hi, first and last name, please?”
"I’m getting anxious, nobody who checked in before me took this long."
There’s a pause as the man looks up and down the sheets attached to his clipboard. I’m getting anxious, nobody who checked in before me took this long.
“Sir, please repeat your last name.”
“Jeantus,” I say in a strong voice; the voice I’ve been practicing specifically for these three weeks, not wanting to turn-off potential friends because of being abnormally soft-spoken.
My family looks at me peculiarly. My father steps up and repeats “Jeantus” with more added emphasis on JEAN, and almost miraculously, the man at check-in responds,
“Oh. Here you are.”
The man then assembles my dorm key, lanyard, papers, etc., and hands it to me.
"My family asked why I said our last name in the manner that I did."
Education teaches you just as much about yourself as any topic, but this was a bit much.
I walk away bummed, thinking to myself that clearly my speaking voice needed much more practice. My family asked why I said our last name in the manner that I did.
Come to find out, in all my 16 years of life, I haven’t been saying my name properly.
I was to embark on a three week hiatus among strangers, excited to really geek out at college. I believed it true that education teaches you just as much about yourself as any topic, but this was a bit much.
I’m just happy I’m not mispronouncing my own name anymore.