Having a common name poses a minor burden

November 7, 2022 — by Victoria Lin
Photo by Leyna Chan
Having the same name as others causes confusion.
Sharing a name with two other people in the same grade has its ups and downs.

Common names are known for, well, being common. Having a generic name comes with the inevitability of meeting someone who has the same name as you. It’s ranked No. 34 on the most popular names for girls. In 2006, the year I was born, it was ranked No. 27 in the U.S. As someone who shares the same name as two other people in my grade, Victoria Hu and Victoria Le — let me tell you what an inconvenience it is.

Having a common name comes with the upside of having no one mispronounce my name, but also the downside of looking over my shoulder whenever I hear someone call out my name. I often look around, only to realize that people were not referring to me, but another Victoria. 

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that I also turn around whenever I hear “Vicky” as well because some people call me by that nickname. It’s like seeing someone wave at you and waving back, and find out they were waving at the person behind you. 

Another annoying part of having the same name is attendance. In order for the teacher to differentiate between two people with the same name, I have to go by my first name and last initial, kind of like Thing 1 and Thing 2. 

Sometimes I have to resort to more than just my last initial when I meet someone who also identifies as Victoria L. On the bright side, I get recognition for my full potential. After all, no one calls Bill Gates just plain Bill; people use his first and last name just so others know they’re talking explicitly about the Bill who co-founded Microsoft.  

Other times, when submitting homework or completing a test, I have to make sure teachers know that I was the one who did a great job and not another person. I envy all those who get to turn in work without having to ever write their last names. 

On the plus side, when you have such a common name, there is bound to be other famous people with that same name. Queen Victoria, a more famous Victoria, is a great example of an influential figure who shares the same name. Who wouldn’t want to be named after a British monarch who ruled England and had a whole era named after her?  

There’s also Victoria’s Secret, a chain store, dedicated to women’s lingerie, though I’m not sure if that’s what I want someone to think of first when I introduce myself.

Common names can be an inconvenience to have and there are times when I wish my name was a little less common, like maybe Diana. Nevertheless, having a common name also makes it easier to show others what makes me special, since I constantly have to show others what makes me different from other Victorias.

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