Some of you may have learned from Superbad that Mohammad is in fact the most common name in the world. It should come as no surprise that since our school is in the Muslim world, Mohammad is in fact also the most common name in our school. There are no less than fifteen Mohammads. That’s way more common than the even the most popular American name.
Most go by their last name to avoid confusion, but this doesn’t always work. For example, two Mohammads with the same last name applied to our summer program one year, one who was a phenomenal kid and one who was a terror… but they accidentally called the awful one to tell him that he was accepted to the program and couldn’t go back on their word. Both ended up coming and the terrible one made it about a week before getting kicked out for breaking the glass on all the fire alarms in the dorm.
I had my own Mohammad mixup recently. There are two Mohammads in my class, both seniors, both live on my hallway, good friends with each other. One asked me to write a recommendation for him, so I did and sent it off to the college counseling office. The next day, the other Mohammad came up to me and said “Thank you so much for writing me a recommendation!” – turns out the college counselor had received my email and mentioned to the wrong Mohammad that she had received my recommendation. It took maybe 45 seconds of a blank, confused look on my face to figure it all out, but eventually we did.
Now, this wouldn’t have been a huge deal, except that this other Mohammad had asked me earlier to write him a recommendation and I had politely advised him that perhaps he should not get a recommendation from a teacher in whose class he has a D… Long story short, now I’m writing a recommendation for the other Mohammad! Honestly, I am happy to because he is one of my favorite kids in the school (he’s the goofball that I talked about in a much earlier post), but if you have any ideas how to express that to a college that you are recommending a student without going into detail about the whole this-kid-has-a-pretty-bad-grade-in-my-class issue, I’d love your thoughts…