August 28 – what was your name?

35/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. While my fellow Commerce students all took business related electives such as the History of Taxation, I started to enrol in all the “ologies” in the hopes of getting a Psychology minor. Since my Commerce courses were in the Angus building and I was a keener and didn’t want to be late, I ran on that second semester first day to my Anthropology class in the Buchanan building. Of course, I got to an empty classroom with plenty of time to spare. I sat down and got myself set up. The next person to arrive was a funky alterna-vibe girl who looked over at me and smiled and had a seat next to me. In my mind, I was thinking about the other Commerce students who I could possibly sit with that must still be coming to the class – alas, I could always sit with them tomorrow. She introduced herself but, thinking that I wouldn’t really see her after today, I didn’t register her name and we continued on with simple pleasantries. The class soon filled up and not a single person from Commerce was in there – everyone a stranger. The next day, I walked to class and upon entering, funky alterna-vibe girl beckoned me over. I sat with her and continued to do so over the next few weeks not ever knowing her name and she always calling me by name. Unlike high school, in this class there was no roll call, no papers submitted with your names on top, no group work where you introduced yourselves – and here I was over a month into the class and we were becoming friends and I still had no clue what her name was. Short of going through her personal belongings, I didn’t know how to figure out her name and shared my frustrations with my sister who was also at UBC. Unbeknownst to me, my sister was appalled at my initial cavalier attitude and casually asked me when and where my class was and I told her. A couple of days later, my sister was outside of my classroom and soon saw me and my classmate walk out. She came up to us and said hello to me and then asked me who my friend was! I was stunned. I had nothing to say. The girl looked at me. My sister looked at me. Not a single word came forth from my lips. The girl soon put all the pieces together and realized I had no clue what her name was and then asked me what her name was. Nothing. She, understandably so, got upset and walked away. My sister walked away too. I stood there dumbfounded and thought about all the shoulda, woulda, couldas but nothing could change it. The next day, I happened to be in class before the girl and upon entering she saw me and took a seat elsewhere. For the duration of the course, she never ever sat with me again. I did not know how to apologize for such a transgression and the course finished without us ever having reconciled and seeing each other again. Even to this day, I do not know her name but she taught me so much about the importance of recognizing and acknowledging a person immediately since one doesn’t know who will be important/significant in life. Since that experience, I make a conscious effort to learn a person’s name and repeat, clarify it, double-check it and use it back in conversation. Yes, I cannot correct the wrong that I did to you funky alterna-vibe girl, but you have forever changed me to realize that every person you meet matters and not to write them off as I did with you. Apologies and thanks go to you!

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