I’m sitting in African History, my first class at Goshen College, and I’m listening to everyone give introductions, glad to be done with mine, when suddenly I hear my name called out again. I get confused and am about to tell the professor that I’ve already shared when all of a sudden another girl speaks out. “I am Hanna Hochstetler from Goshen, Indiana,” then she looks directly at me and says, “and I get your emails.”

And so it begins.

A long year of forwarding emails back and forth, apologizing for others’ mistakes. Messaging on Facebook when and where to meet so we could give each other mail that had been misplaced in each others mailboxes. Talking about mistaken mail, one can’t imagine the sadness of peeping into your mailbox and seeing an envelope, then to open it up and realize it’s addressed to someone else (unless you have a shared mailbox then I sympathize with you). Oh! And not to mention google invites! Being invited to a college event and showing up realizing not only were you not prepared but you weren’t invited.


I blame Goshen College. Someone in ITS thought they were clever when they found out that when they combined my first name, (Hanna), with the first letter of my last name, (H), they could make the email hannah@goshen.edu. Not only have I struggled with misspelling my name on papers (due to the fact that I had to sign into moodle with my unfortunate username and got used to adding the extra “h”), but it also confused professors when Hannah transferred here.

Like Hannah said, our first encounter was in African History, but like I told her in class, we were being mistaken for each other long before that. I had been curious about who this “Hannah Hostetter” was since I first began getting requests for advising appointments with Suzanne Ehst (And no, I am not an education major). That first day in class, I jumped the gun when I realized she was there too!

Now with a face to the name, I feel as though I can easily pass along emails when we get mistaken for each other. Plus, now that we are friends we never have to worry about forgetting what’s going on in each other’s lives because we have already gotten a notification for it!

Working together:

We have been pushing through this mistaken identity crisis and have applied changes in our lives to make sure people won’t get us mistaken. Below is a list of what we’ve done:

-Dropped out of African History (Hannah dropped out because Hanna needed it for SST and didn’t want tension in the class over name issues.)

-Put pictures next to our email addresses (Hanna first put a picture of a parrot so Hannah informed her that wasn’t enough because she was getting questioned why she loved parrots so much.)

-Moved off campus (Hanna graciously took the high road so that her mail wouldn’t be sent to GC at all.)

-Didn’t try out for the basketball team (Hanna was already on the team and two hanna(h)’s hos(ch)tet(tl)er’s on a team would be confusing.)

-Writing this article to help inform everyone

We would like to clarify that this mistaken identity crisis is only online. In person we have never gotten mistaken for one another. This may be because Hanna is a tall blonde who caringly greets everyone on campus. Compared to Hannah who’s is a short brunette and will do anything to avert eye contact when walking on campus.

This semester will be the end of our mistaken identity crisis online. Hanna’s graduating and moving onto a personal email. But Hannah will probably continue to get emails from people who’ve forgotten Hanna graduated and will probably also not get some emails because Hanna’s account will stay open for awhile with no one to send her her mistaken identity emails.