Knowing Yourself in College
It’s not revolutionary to say, but all of us see the world through a lens that is all our own. We solve problems uniquely, make decisions differently, are driven by diverse motivations and energized in distinct ways. As a college student, you’ve probably been given a personality or aptitude test somewhere along the way, and have hopefully learned something about yourself. As you gain insights into what makes you tick, think about your college education in light of what you’ve learned. Knowing yourself can help you strategize towards optimal learning and your best-case educational outcome, not to mention a healthier and fuller life overall.
The Myers/Briggs Personality test, the Enneagram and the High5 strengths finder are free and accessible online, and are great tools for self-reflection and assessment. While no test out there gives you a perfect picture of who you are, there are many things to be gained from utilizing these resources. Each one gives you a slightly different angle that can lead to personal growth as a student and as an individual. In some ways, their helpfulness lies in the fact that they give you a vocabulary with which to communicate about yourself with others, as well as gain more understanding about how others are wired. Ultimately, this makes you a more empathetic friend, roommate, student and employee. So dive in and utilize one of these great tools today!
Myers/Briggs test. This test looks at certain components of personality and essentially describes how you see the world. It measures four pairs of somewhat opposing traits: Introvert vs. Extrovert; Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling and Judging vs. Perceiving. Consider how simply understanding whether you are introverted (energized by being alone) or extroverted (energized by being with people) might direct your academic choices in colleges: if you’re extroverted, you’re going to enjoy classes built around group discussion. You may seek out a study partner and enjoy sharing a suite with multiple roommates. If you’re introverted, you may prefer lecture-style instruction or online learning. You may prefer studying alone and need to retreat occasionally from your roommates. Thinking vs. Feeling measures how you prefer to take in information. Sensing vs. Intuition considers your perceptions and how you make decisions—whether you are more logical and analytical (sensing) or prefer more abstract thinking (intuition). Judging vs. Perceiving is descriptive of how you orient yourself to the world—whether you utilize plans, lists and schedules (judging) or prefer to function more spontaneously and flexibly (perceiving). All in all, when you take a Myers/Briggs test you are given a profile that describes your type, whether INFJ, ESTP or any one of sixteen separate personalities. Take the profile here: https://my-personality-test.com/personality-type-indicator and see if the results don’t surprise you with their accuracy.
High5 Strengths finder. While the Myers/Briggs focuses on personality, the High5, like other strengths finder tests, focuses on aptitudes. After taking a one hundred question test, you’ll be able to see what your top five strengths are. Your list may include anything from “problem-solver” to “brain-stormer” to “optimist” to “strategist” and will include a brief description of your particular strengths or talents. Once again, this knowledge can be invaluable when applied to college learning. For example, if you’re a storyteller, you’ll probably enjoy Speech class and possibly a major in journalism or creative writing. If you’re a problem-solver, you won’t shy away from math, and a major in engineering or pre-med might be more up your alley. If you’re classified as a chameleon you’ll discover that you do not like routine and predictability, meaning that when it comes to studying you’ll probably need to change things up so you don’t grow bored. Take the High5 test here: https://high5test.com/ and learn something you didn’t know about yourself!
Enneagram. And last but not least, the Enneagram is a test that also assigns titles, which correspond to 1 of 9 numbers (eg: 3=achiever, 7=enthusiast or 4=loyalist). Rather than measuring strengths, the Enneagram seeks to discover motivation. For example, an Enneagram “1” (also known as the perfectionism) is driven by the desire to be good and right. The Enneagram “2” (also referred to as the helper) is driven by the desire to be loved and appreciated. Understanding your motivation helps you understand why you relate to the world as you do. For example, a classroom environment that frequently generates heated debate will likely be invigorating to the challenger “8” (who loves feeling free to vocalize their personal beliefs and respects those who are able to strongly articulate their own) and draining to a peacemaker “9” (who desires relational harmony at all costs). An “8” sees debate as a growth opportunity, while a “9” views it as a possible threat to peace. Being cognizant of these dynamics will help you understand why certain classes are energizing and others draining to you. In addition, insights gained from the Enneagram will allow you to relate to others with more awareness and empathy. If you haven’t taken the Enneagram, here’s your chance: https://www.truity.com/test/enneagram-personality-test!
College is a time when you’re maturing by leaps and bounds. The more you learn about yourself, the better! Why not discover more today about the way God’s created you and see if it doesn’t sharpen your educational experience and overall perspective on life?