When I started my time here at Arcadia, I was still figuring out who I was as a person. While many people can say they were trying to figure themselves out in college, my specific dilemma surrounded gender and identity.
On the Arcadia University application, it gives you the option to use a preferred name. At the time, starting my freshman year of college in 2021, my preferred name was Lilly. My legal name, however, is Ethan. I was feeling everything out, and exploring my fluidity in a way that made me happy. But it left me with a lot of confusion, too. Nobody said figuring yourself out was going to be easy.
Ethan was a name I picked out when I was 13 and got it legally changed when I was 16. Around age 17, however, I started receiving a lot of backlash from my family members. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and even my siblings had their reservations from the start, even before legalizing my name. Something about the legalization of my name, something about the gender-affirming care I was receiving, really ground the gears of my conservative and religious family.
So around age 18, despite Ethan being my legal and actually preferred name, I started going by Lilly. Which was my childhood nickname. Unfortunately, this was around the time I started college. So I came in with the mentality of hiding myself, but little did I know that Arcadia would be a lot different than my home environment. And little did I know Arcadia would appreciate me as a student no matter what I decided to go by.
On day one, in my first class, I remember the teacher going around and allowing everyone to introduce themselves with their names and preferred pronouns. I was astonished! The fact that it could be that easy, the idea that I could be myself, was so foreign, but it was so comforting.
Now that I’m in my second year of college, I decided to change my name in Arcadia’s system from Lilly to Ethan. Here is how I was able to do it:
Student Affairs handles the chosen name process, and to start, you must submit a name change request form. This allows students to notify Student Affairs that they would like a change of name. Student Affairs will then follow up with you via email to ensure your name has been changed.
You can also find more information about chosen names on the Arcadia website, where you can find all the details surrounding name changes and how Arcadia goes about doing so.
Because of Arcadia, I was able to easily change my name, which also means Arcadia made it as easy as possible to help me feel like myself. For that, I am forever thankful.