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On being unique

Perry, Katie | Friday, November 4, 2005

I’m pretty much your standard Notre Dame student.

Attention is often brought to the apparent homogeneity of our student body, and after being mistaken for another person three times in one day last week, I began to think maybe I am just another face in the crowd.

The charcoal grey and black North Face jacket, the white T-shirt, the intentionally distressed jeans with iPod clipped securely to the front pocket – all of these things clearly are not helping me “stand out” from my peers.

And lest we forget my first name is undoubtedly the most frequented on campus. In fact, I’ve stopped responding to it altogether. If I hear a “Hey Katie!” from across the quad, the person might as well be yelling “Hey Emily!” or “Hey Megan!” – or “Hey Chinedum!” for that matter.

My last name doesn’t add much in terms of individuality either. Just think of all the Perrys in the world: Steve Perry (lead singer of Journey), Joe Perry (lead guitarist of Aerosmith), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing of “Friends”) and Luke Perry (Dylan McKay of “Beverly Hills, 90210”) to name a few.

Now, I am either destined for greatness – or perhaps television obscurity – or my name is fairly common. Unfortunately, I think it’s the latter.

So, is that it? Am I really just a cookie-cutter product of the society in which I live?

Nah. The way I see it, it’s like my fourth grade teacher Miss Lannier used to tell us every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance.

“You are all special in your own way!”

I think we all look back at those elementary school moments, chuckle to ourselves and say, “Wow, my teacher was such a tool.” And your teacher may very well have been a tool – I know mine was – but she may have had a point.

We might be religiously homogenous at Notre Dame, we might be racially homogenous at Notre Dame, we might be socioeconomically homogenous at Notre Dame – but I don’t think we are, in a general sense, homogenous at Notre Dame.

I probably look the same as a lot of kids here, or maybe have the same name, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the exactly same as everyone else.

After all, the reason I am wearing my North Face jacket is to hide a hot chocolate stain on my white T-shirt, because I am uniquely clumsy. And I’m wearing distressed jeans because – OK you caught me. But would you believe me if I told you my current iPod playlist of choice is an 87-song tribute to Bruce Springsteen, because I uniquely believe him to be the greatest human being alive?

It’s true – unlike the rumors that he was going to play at our pep rally, which I believed because I am uniquely gullible. And yes, I am still uniquely bitter.