The Transition Generation

What’s in a name? | May 9, 2011

My name is Mehvish (pronounced mav-ish).  Call me Mehv.  That’s really where my story starts: my name.  It is not your typical American name (if there even is such a thing anymore), but in the 80’s it stood out more than a Flock of Seagulls haircut.  I have also been told by elementary school teachers what a masculine sounding name it is – I should point out here that I am a woman, not a man, so you can imagine what that comment did to my fragile, pre-adolescent female mind.

With my name, or most likely any name, we’re seemingly judged right from the get-go.  In school, teachers see your name before they ever see you, unless you’re slightly tanner than the rest of the class – then they know you’re the odd name out.  But I can’t tell you the number of times I have been judged by my name alone.  Rest assured, reader (if there is anyone reading this blog), that the majority of my teachers were kind and good people and never treated me differently. I was always extremely shy and introverted as a kid, really until college, but still I was judged until they realized I was hard-working and studious.

But before you think I dislike my name, reader, let assure you that I love it, unconditionally.  I believe that people grow into their names and I cannot imagine the person I would be had I grown up with a different name. 

So what does a name have to do with the purpose of this blog? Well, I am a member of what I call the Transition Generation: the children of American immigrants who learn the ins-and-outs of American life and culture and must help their parents, and eventually their own children, transition to an American way of life. My parents, indeed many of the parents of the Transition Generation, came to America in search of a better life for me and my brother.  The life here was and is different from the life they knew, but my brother and I are better for it.  The course of our lives were changed when they made the brave decision to come here, and now I and a plethora of aunts, uncles, cousins and more have benefited from the strength of their parents. 

But we, as the Transition Generation, have faced experiences our parents have not, such as a unique and foreign name in comparison to those around us, and it is those experiences which have set us apart.  A long time ago I realized writing was a good outlet for a shy girl, such as myself, and I have wanted to share my experiences with others.  I also want others to share their experiences with me; what challenges have you faced as a member of the Transition Generation, or what challenges have you seen others face?

On a regular basis I’ll be posting blogs about my experiences and, even if you are not a member of the Transition Generation, I hope you can join me and share in the conversation.

Thanks for reading




  1. Oh My God…..I’ve never ever even imagined that you had to face all of this too…pretty weird if people judge others by names…n PRETTY discourteous if they really give comments on that too!

    But then…everybody grows up in a different set of happenings…and situations…and lifestyle…and people around them…its luck if you find the ideal set of people around yourself!!!

    Moreover…even I used to be shy..back in school…but then…I started loving gaining attention…and that’s when I started participating in different school activities…and that’s how I started making loads and loads of friends…

    But…for a person like you..who THINKS of herself as in introvert…keep wrirting…even if you dont talk much…I’d LLOOVVEEE to read more…and more….and more…..

    I’ve already checked the box that said k notify me of follow-up comments…

    P.S….I really didn’t have to say about the transition thing here…since I had not faced this and been through this…but yes…I can feel…how cold can people be sometimes!

    Would love to read more!
    Miss u

    Comment by Zeeshan Arif (Shani) — May 10, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  2. Thanks, Shani! You are absolutely right that everyone grows up in different circumstances. Some of my other cousins grew up in a more diverse community than me, so they did not have the same experiences that I did. Thanks for reading! Miss you too!

    Comment by Mehv — May 10, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

  3. In my opinion…a person is more likely to be judged by his name…. if it is different from common names around…i m living in pakistan so no idea about transition generation of US…but i think it takes Generations to complete this transition of becoming truly recognized citizens of a country…for instance those migrated people from india at the time of partition are not yet fully recognized citizen by mass here in pakistan…

    Comment by shan khan — May 10, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

  4. That’s true, too, Shan. Every country goes through their own Transition Generation and it sometimes takes longer than one generation to be accepted into that society.

    Comment by Mehv — May 12, 2011 @ 1:30 am

  5. I am not part of the Transition Generation, although I am one of the seemingly rare native Floridians (born and raised). I had the opposite experience with my name, being one of the countless Jessicas born in the 80s. Maybe that’s why my reports cards always said “good student, but talks too much” because I was trying to demonstrate my uniqueness, or it’s just because I’ve always been a fairly outgoing person.

    I know my experience may have been very different from yours in school, but I can relate to being noticed for being different. Kids may get a complex from others calling them “fat” or other such things, but trust me you get just as much of a complex with people calling you “skinny” all the time. I think that’s the case whenever others continually point out anything about us that is “different”. I recall one time as a young teenager I was shopping with my mom, and right outside the dressing room I was in this women tried to tell my mother that I had an eating disorder and needed to get help (while I was CLEARLY within earshot of the conversation). Talk about judging people on their appearance. That women knew nothing about me, and that is always the case when we meet new people until we get to know them and can appreciate people’s uniqueness without just blindly pointing out “differences” in those around us.

    I have always been interested in people’s stories and perspectives, so I am thoroughly enjoying the blog and can’t wait to read more!

    Comment by Jessica — May 24, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    • Thanks for the comments, Jessica! I must admit that I haven’t much thought about it from the other side – where you have a name that is common. Although, since I know you so well, I must say that you are a totally unique Jessica in my opinion 🙂

      I can also relate to your comments about being prejudged based on looks … I don’t think there is a woman on this planet who has not suffered that fate, sadly.

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad you like the blog. If you or Kevin have and idea or topic for an upcoming blog, please let me know.

      Comment by Mehv — May 24, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  6. […] understandably, don’t want bad press and want people to feel at home in their restaurants.  In my first post, I talked about how a name can affect people’s perception of you; the same is true for ethnicity. […]

    Pingback by Re-Defined Culture « The Transition Generation — September 26, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

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    First generation born and raised American, and member of the Transition Generation © (aka Generation T ©). Join me as I discuss the struggles and joys I have faced as an American. What's your story?


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