All students should acknowledge their faults

All students should acknowledge their faults

The most important part of growing up is figuring out who you are. If you don’t understand your own mind, how will you define goals or make decisions about what to major in, career path to follow or relationships to pursue?

In my life, getting to know myself has benefited both my future plans and present relationships. In that, it has been integral for me to identify my virtues and faults in order to capitalize on and work on fixing them, respectively. 

There are many free tools that can be used to figure yourself out and pinpoint those virtues and faults. I wouldn’t hang my life on any one of these, but I do believe that they can be useful in beginning to understand yourself.

My personal favorite is the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. The 16 Personalities model is a very simple and well-presented introduction into the MBPTI, and was the thing that first helped me evaluate and understand myself. There is a world of detail that 16 Personalities omits, but it is extremely useful for those who, like me, are looking for a working knowledge of personality types and their implications.

Meyers-Briggs classifies people based on combinations of four elements, using one from each of the following pairs: introverted/extraverted, observant/intuitive, thinking/feeling and judging/prospecting. According to 16personalities.com, these four pairs correlate to four personality aspects, which are mind, energy, nature and tactics, respectively. I’m an INFP, which means that I am introverted, intuitive, feeling, and prospecting.

When I first took the 16 Personalities test, I was shocked to see a systemization of what generally seems like second-nature to me. All my typical thought processes, relationship habits, and continual frustrations were listed there for me. And there are more people like me! 

The list that 16 Personalities returns is all too familiar now; seeks harmony, creative, idealistic, driven by values…impractical, takes things personally, difficult to get to know, too idealistic. Until reading this list, I had never seen my qualities on a page. Once I had identified these, I was able to recognize them at work in my everyday life. 

At the time I first really read this, I was in the middle of a freshman year crisis and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, much less my college career. Seeing my test results reinforced subconscious knowledge I already had and advice I had been given that I needed to choose a career path with a creative outlet.

Years later, knowing my faults has proven more useful to me than my virtues. I realized that everyone doesn’t think like me, and in the same way that I tend to place unrealistic expectations on myself, I also place expectations on other people that I don’t communicate, which always only results in hurt and confusion. 

Identifying your faults is the first step toward correcting them. Just knowing what to look out for might be enough to stop you from lashing out or acting negatively. Knowing your faults is not an excuse to make excuses, though. It would be useless for me to say, “I am the way I am and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” 

Instead, it provides an opportunity to take legitimate steps toward being a better student, friend, daughter, sister, and girlfriend by taking stock of problems when they arise and getting straight to the heart of the matter rather than eternally treating symptoms. It is a long process, grueling at times, but it has been worth every bit of effort thus far.

Emily Strickland is a junior majoring in journalism. Her column runs biweekly. 

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