Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Four letters and a box

Like many college students I have no idea what my post-grad life will be like. Will I be working in my field? What will my field even be? Am I even going to get a job? Everyone knows exactly how I feel, if you don't, you might be lying to yourself.

Being the pro-active, go-getter that I am, I decided to schedule an appointment for myself at the campus Career Development Office. Better get started early, I thought to myself. I knew what to expect, they'd tell me to take a lot of general ed courses until something sparked my passion or something generic like that.

Guess what? I wasn't wrong.

During the course of my appointment I had the privilege of being introduced to personality testing. I'll figure out what to do with my life. This will be easy. Just do this test and it'll tell you what to do. 

I had heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test before but I'd never cared enough to take it. But that Monday afternoon in the career development office, I was excited.


That's who I am.

Four letters.

I'm "extraverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging."

Four letters and a box.

I'm The Giver. 

According to this test, I am suited well for careers in counseling, entertainment, childcare...
The list goes on, and I'll admit--the test is not wrong. I would likely excel in those areas.

But what if I don't care?

Tests like the Myers-Briggs are limiting. People are multi-faceted, people cannot be described by four letters. Why should I need this test to validate my personality? I know that I am a giving person, I've often thought about becoming a counselor, I know I'm an extrovert. Why did I feel so validated when the test matched my personal views of myself? Why should I need a test to tell me who I am when I've been myself my whole life?

Tests like these are relieving, they make us feel like we belong. But do we really belong in boxes?

No one can possibly be described by only four letters--there has to be a better way to guide people's futures.

We should encourage individuality, stress the importance of making our own choices, and start thinking outside the box.

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