Grad school has many surprises for me. Even my name is subject to scrutiny.
Today is my 24th birthday, and according to my Grandpa, I still have four years to prepare for my career-phase (28-42). The career I think I want is teaching ESL. That's what my masters degree will be in, anyway. My preparation at NAU includes graduate level coursework and a teaching assistantship in the English department teaching "Reading and Writing for the Academy Community"--essentially, it's a required writing class for freshman.
I'm a week away from starting my classes, and even though the lesson planning is daunting, it's the small things that give me the biggest hang-ups. For example, what should I have students call me? I want to have authority, but not intimidation. My instinct says "Jena" because I like my first name, and I don't feel like a Miss, Ms. or Mrs., and definitely not a Prof. or Dr.. I could go with "Ms. Lynch", but I've never been all that fond of "Lynch". I think of lynchings or lynch mobs, neither of which suggest that I am a nice or reasonable person. I could always say, "Lynch" like "linchpin", but I think my aversion to the name is more than semantic.
I am not close to the "Lynch" side of my family. When my parents divorced, I had my dad's last name, but little else. When my Mom has remarried, I became the only Lynch in the Griesel family. A few years back, I seriously contemplated legally changing my last name. First I thought of practical changes, "Jena Griesel", "Jena Moore" (Mom's maiden name), or even "Jena Keim" (Grandma's maiden name). None of these choices sounded very natural, so I tried to tap into the Italian-ness of "Gina". "Jena Bonati" (our one-time foreign exchange student) "Jena Marzetti" (a salad dressing) or "Jena Lorenzetti" (Still has the L). These seemed a little far-fetched, since I have no relation to Italy.
As a teacher, I want a name that has a positive connotation, (preferably something not connected to killing) like "Teegarden", "Goodheart", or "Coffee". A German name would also fit me: "Ms. Braun", "Ms. Ritter", "Ms. Garten", etc.
But alas. Here I am Jena Lynch. Rather than be called by a name that I don't really like, I think I'll stick with just Jena.
Or I could really go for it and be "Lady Lynch".