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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

What’s my name again?

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A case of mistaken identity

On Jan. 30, one of my professors asked me to stay after class. As I often do in these situations, I began to internally panic throughout the period.

My mind wandered, forgetting about Genghis Khan and his daughters. Had I forgotten an assignment? Insulted her by accident? Given an answer so fundamentally dumb she wanted to cut me from the course?

None of the above. Instead, as I meekly walked up to her desk, she gave me a sympathetic look.

“I read something in the new issue of The Hawk,” the professor said, her eyes calm and kind. “I’m so sorry you were in that accident last year.”

I had a sinking realization.

“I’m sorry, but that’s not me.”

She was confused.

“But – I read in the paper –”

“That’s not me. That’s another girl, with a similar name.”

Sensing awkwardness, I tried to follow it with something lighthearted.

“But if you saw that review of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,’ I wrote that.”

Before I formally met Rose Walton ’19, I saw that we already had a few things in common. We share a floral nickname, we are both juniors, we have some of the same friends and our last names only differ by two letters. But I was formally introduced to her existence in a bizarre way.

For most of last January, I received frantic messages from friends and acquaintances, asking if I was okay. “Sure,” I’d reply, thinking they were playing a bizarre joke. “Weird,” one messaged back. “Someone told me you got hit by a car.”

Sure enough, soon The Hawk ran a story about a student who had been hit on Cardinal Avenue, and the pedestrian involved was none other than Walton. Cue my own puzzlement as I put together Lifestyle stories that same week.

Now, a year on from that initial confusion, I decided to find Walton and talk out this miscommunication. I reached out to her on Facebook and we made an appointment at Starbucks on a Saturday.

Once we met, I found out from Walton that the nominal confusion started for her long before either of our names were published.

“My first couple weeks at St. Joe’s, we were both running for Student Senate,” Walton said with a laugh. “The list of candidates had my full name, Rosalie Walton. And all my friends kept saying to me, ‘Don’t worry, Rose, you’ll win. I voted for Rose, not that Rosalie girl.’ And I thought, oh no!”

The lost votes didn’t matter anyway. In that election, Walton became a senator. I did not.

Embarrassing personal memories aside, I learned that Walton is a cheerleader, a Collegiate Challenge leader and an avid watcher of Netflix’s “Black Mirror.” She majors in leadership ethics and organizational sustainability (LEO), but her dream job is to work for NBC, preferably for “Saturday Night Live.” She also likes taking things casually and finding time to relax.

“I do a lot around campus, so it’s nice to be able to just be,” Walton said.

She then asked about me, and apologized for the miscommunications I’d had.

We both got up to leave after 20 minutes, and I was left to reflect on it all. I realized how different we were, but it wasn’t hard to see how it could be easy to mix us up.

In the middle of our conversation, we hit upon the topic of artificial intelligence. As a fan of “Black Mirror,” which is notorious for providing critiques on modern technology, Walton said she likes the idea of AI, but not the prospect of it actually happening.

“How does it interest someone so much to create a direct copy of a human?” Walton asked.

Hearing the word “copy” made me think of something: having similar names was clearly something Walton and I could work with. But if we looked the same, then we’d truly be in trouble.

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