Kaileigh’s College Essay

Kaileighs College Essay

Kaileigh Strong (she/her), Writer

Have you ever gone to a gift shop and found your name on a keychain? For many of you, I imagine the answer is yes. Must be nice. As for me, I was the 7-year-old who had to get the keychain that said ~princess~ instead of my name (spelled correctly–that is–because of course every Kaylee has found their name on a keychain). Princesses are great and all, but buying the princess keychain instead of the hypothetical “Kaileigh” keychain was majorly disappointing to young me. Actually, it’s disappointing now, too. 

Kaileigh. Not Kaleigh, Kaeleigh, Kayleigh, Kailiegh, Kaylee, or Keileigh. These are just a handful of misspellings of my first name that I’ve encountered during my lifetime. I’m almost positive that I’ve seen my name spelled wrong more than I’ve seen it spelled right. In the last week I can think of 6 instances in which my name has been misspelled. The culprits include my boss, my volleyball coach, my teachers, my teammates, a friend I’ve known for over a year, and just wait for this: my college counselor. In an email. All the while knowing what my college essay is about. Quite ironic if you ask me. At my school I am the only Kaileigh. Therefore, my teachers only have one option for how to spell my name. Because there is only one of me, it seems inexcusable. People tend to think that it’s just a name, so who really cares right? Actually it’s a lot more than that.

When I was a baby, my grandmother had a children’s book made for me about an adventure I had with my cousins. It was a very thoughtful gift, but guess what was wrong with it. My name was spelled wrong throughout the entire book. Maybe I’m asking for a lot. One might say to be grateful I received the gift at all. But I’d like to think a family member would double check the spelling of a name in a personalized book before gifting it. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me (and my mom).

The incident with my grandmother’s book was just a preview of every misspelling I would ever encounter in my life. Of course now I’m used to it. At least once a week I receive an email from a teacher or administrator with my incorrectly spelled name. Oftentimes, in response to an email I had sent them. If they read my email, they probably saw the words: 


Thank you, 

Kaileigh Strong


I actually just received an email minutes ago that read “Thanks for reaching out, Kailiegh”. It’s not too far off from my name! Just switch two letters and you’re there! But what’s funny is that in my original email, I signed my correctly spelled name. I checked. More often than not, people have the ability to check how to spell someone’s name. Perhaps by re-reading an email signature. I am insulted when people don’t take time to double check their spelling, especially when it’s right in front of them.

What this lifelong experience of misspellings has taught me is that it’s okay to correct people. When the people around me are careless with my name, it’s always such a disappointment. It makes me think people don’t care, which then makes me not care about my name. By not caring about my name, I lose a sense of my identity. Growing up, I got used to people spelling my name wrong. What I’ve realized about this is that I really shouldn’t have. Time after time I’ve tolerated people not thinking twice about their actions. Not thinking about how to spell someone’s name leads to making rude remarks because you think they don’t care. But they care. I care. Getting used to a misspelled name can turn into being okay with people treating me poorly. There is no reason I should learn to tolerate disrespect, no matter how serious.