Call Me Katie or Catherine?

by Josh Barsch on July 13, 2010

It’s a good day for an odd question.

Judge Josh, first allow me to indulge in some brief flattery: I love that your humor amplifies the impressions that your insights leave on me in my scholarship pursuits!

Oh…go on.

Now to the context of my inquiry: I’ll be going away to college (first in my house!) in August. Naturally, I have countless concerns about student life that my family cannot help me with. Matters worsen when I factor in that I am a somewhat neurotic person and therefore insist on considering every imaginable hypothetical issue.

Wow. That’s gotta keep you pretty busy.

This is no exception, so I apologize if the issue I present is laughably trivial.

Hey, that’s what I’m here for.

What are the merits of making yourself known to professors and classmates by your formal first name, and what are the merits of enforcing usage of your nickname?

I think there are no particular merits either way.

To provide some justification for my concern, my name is Catherine, which suggests someone regal or professional upon first glance.

I’m going to have to disagree with you there. You may very well be regal and professional, but a majority of people you meet will not infer this to be the case simply because your name is Catherine. :)

This suits me well, as I am a debater, history nerd, and creative writing nut. However, the name also seems to suggest coldness and unfriendliness


No it doesn’t.

and people who know me well call me Katie. I spent the first two years of high school as the intellectual titan Catherine

Oh my.

and the last two as the insightful friend Katie. The problem with the name Katie, I feel, is that it separates me from the professional, witty persona I established as Catherine. I am left without a clue regarding the first name with which to introduce myself to others in college.

Well, I’d say use whichever one you like best. All of this perceptions you’re discussing here — they’re happening only internally. By and large, people observe your behavior and THEN associate the behavior they see — be it intellectual titan-ism or insightful friendliness — with your name.

You could be named Einstein, and if you weren’t very smart, people would know it right away. Your name could be Sillypants, and if you were flexing some of that titanic intellect, then before long, in everyone’s mind, nothing would say big brain like the word “Sillypants.”

Since I recognize my tendency toward over-thinking, I should also ask this: Should I bother putting stock into what people call me in the first place?

No, not as long as the options are Catherine and Katie and other G-rated things.

Thank you for your assistance in this silly matter!
– Catherine/Katie/Over-Invested

Thanks for throwing me a curveball today!

Ummm…comments for Katie-Catherine, anyone?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kris July 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Interesting choice on a post…

Hey, if it makes you giggle a little bit, my professor came up with a nickname for me because I slept in the car a lot during field camp. It’s slightly embarrassing (but endearing!) 😀

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Kate July 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Katie/Catherine,

You are putting way too much thought into this! Your name is not your personality; only you can create yourself.

If it helps, as a fellow Katherine, I chose to go with Kate early on because I knew too many Katies, and I wanted something shorter than Katherine. So Kate it was. Simple as that.

Just go with what you like best, and be the person you want to be… Your name neither defines you nor gives any impression as to who you should be.

Reply

Katie July 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm

As a fellow Kathryn, I know exactly what you’re talking about. I always wondered the same thing. Kathryn sounds very mature, while Katie makes me think of a little girl on a tricycle. I like Kate a lot, I think it’s a good medium but so many people know me as Katie by now that it doesn’t seem possible to change it. I say go by a nickname, it makes you more approachable and when you finally do reveal your real name, it’ll make you seem more mysterious 😀 People were always shocked to find out my name was actually Kathryn and not Katie. It’s fun having 2 names like that, like an alias sort of thing 😀

Reply

CommColl Girl March 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I say go by Catherine. Or Katherine. Or however you spell it. If your professor asks you if you go by a nickname, then by all means volunteer whichever one you want. Otherwise, keep it easy for them by matching what’s in their computer/gradebook.

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