It’s funny to respond to a prompt that’s my first name. But here’s my story about it: I always used the name Rivka, but my legal name is Rebecca. In high school, I took the SATs as Rivka, applied to college as Rivka, and got accepted to my secular, Midwestern college as Rivka. When I got to campus, it seemed time to have a more-recognizable, easier-to-pronounce name. And so, I went to the registrar to change my name to Rebecca.
The clerk in the registrar’s office was having none of it. When she heard about the name I wanted to change, and why, she gave me a buck-up talk about having pride in my background (I had plenty, thank you), and not being worried about others’ confusion. I walked out without a name change, and went through college as Rivka. The university’s values of pluralism, diversity, and embracing individual identities meant, in my case, that I was encouraged, even pushed, to keep calling myself Rivka. And as it turned out, in a community with Ashot, Xue, and all of the others I went to school with, I fit right in.