Wear her name


Ryan Lam, Staff Writer

With a gleaming, bright shine and delicate texture, multiple silver chains slowly link together, reflecting the elegant and prominent font of the name: Alison. With each link, Freshman Alison Chao reflects on the sentimental value of her necklace, as well as her identity and memories. 

Chao was gifted this custom-made necklace from her father for her birthday. Even though she appreciated the gift, it took her time to truly understand its sentimental value. She now cherishes the memory of that birthday and the necklace became one of her most valued possessions.

“Life went on as usual after I got the necklace. However, time passed and I began to appreciate that I had the necklace and how long it has been with me,” Chao said. “I realized that my necklace was not just a custom-made necklace that happened to have my name on it; it was a necklace that [showed] that I [did] inherently have a worth and place in this world.” 

Chao’s necklace also represents her academic achievements, which even includes an Outstanding Academic Excellence plaque in elementary school. Chao now allows herself to be proud of any achievement, which developed from having an open mind about her necklace.  

“I personally feel that holding onto sentimental items is important as there are certain items that can hold a deeper meaning or serve as records of [one’s] past,” Chao said. “Not everyone necessarily has to have a sentimental object, but for those that do, they should not be shamed for it, even if it is just an item they find off the floor.” 

Besides her identity, Chao uses her necklace as a visual reminder to help reinforce her goals, which include taking small steps to improve her time management and sleep routine. She wishes to use her additional time to take time for herself and get outside more. 

“Since I received the necklace, I have started noticing some of the smaller joys of life, like capturing a picture of a pretty flower or joking around with my friends,” Chao said. “These small joys are connected to my necklace because although it is a small gift, it means a lot to me.”

Although Chao has a strong connection to her name, she initially considered changing it because she felt that other students who shared the same name were the people she thought she “should have” been.

“Especially [during] awards ceremonies, I wanted to avoid people [sharing my name] since I am prone to jealousy and did not want to be mixed up with a different person,” Chao said. “Despite the lack of confidence and self-doubt I have with my name, I keep my necklace because I value my memories and the feelings from my present and past.” 

Chao’s necklace is not the main reason she wants to keep her name, but it aids her in reflecting on her personal growth. Her experiences have taught her to appreciate the challenges she’s overcome, shaping who she is today.

“[My necklace] serves as a reminder that my name is one of the things I have had nearly my entire life. And like my necklace, it has been around far too long just to let go,” Chao said. “There have been days when I felt as if I had achieved nothing with my own projects, and when I look back at my necklace it reminds me of how far I have come.”