The Nature of Reputation

18 June 2007

What is a reputation?

Reflexively, I’d say it is the general evaluation and sense have of a person; a person’s reputation is good or bad, a person is reputed to be this way or that, have these habits or lack them, mainly amongst the people who the person.  Reputation is the sum of the expectations others have about you.

And while this is a true definition of what reputation is, I’ve recently realized I’ve developed a different kind of reputation, the kind of reputation.

Repuation is also what people know (or think they know) about you personally without knowing you personally.  I’ve never been in a place long enough as an adult to get a repuation.  But now I realize that I’ve been at my current school long enough that students who have never had me or met me know not only who I am, but are aware of my pet peeves and have a sense of me as the “hard, somewhat traditionalist writer who teaches here.”

It feels good to have been part of the institution so long that I no longer need to introduce myself, no longer need to sound that “I’m-a-hard-ass-so-don’t-try-anything-funny” note at teh beginning of the year.
The other students sound it for me.  An odd thing, having a reputation.  I only began to realize it at the end of this academic year, which ended Thursday.

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