Back in my undergrad days, I was the resident advisor for La Maison Francaise, the French-speaking residence on campus. I poured over the resident applications and selected just the most ambitious-sounding students. We spoke French religiously between 2-10pm. We hosted a campus-wide crepe party, working in shifts to make 1200 crepes on two frying pans in the cramped kitchen. We hosted the French faculty for an evening soiree. We had a whiteboard by the door with a “verb du jour,” and a friendly little test during the weekly house meeting. Can you say “Type A?” Oui oui.
After that year, I was exhausted. I never wanted to be an RA again. While applications were being taken for the next year of staff, I went to visit my RA-friend Stephanie. While at her hall, she hugged a student, asked how her day was, and loaned her a DVD. WHAT?!?
In that moment, I realized that I rarely asked people how they were; I asked them how much progress they were making towards their goals. I rarely chilled out enough to watch movies. I had a feeling that there was some personal growth I needed to do, but couldn’t quite put a finger on what. So, I ran over to the ResLife office, convinced them to take my late application, and decided to try again.
That year in RA training, we were introduced to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. Reading through my results was a turning point. I learned that by default, people with my personality preferences for ENTJ (the acronyms make sense once you’ve taken it….) often prioritize getting the job done over the people who are doing it. We tend to be very task and goal-oriented, and compulsively efficient in how we execute plans. That year, I put myself out of my comfort zone to learn new communication and interpersonal skills, that didn’t come naturally to me.
The genius part of the Myers-Briggs is that it’s not designed to stuff you into a box. It’s designed to help you identify your default ways of acting and thinking. Out of this awareness, you can choose another course of action. You’re not a victim to habit and comfortable routine, you can choose what actions you want to manifest. I love the Myers-Briggs because it helped me identify a major blind spot, which set me up for developing a new skill set that has served me well professionally.
Earlier this month, a dream came true: I was “required” to take a 4-day certification training for administering the Myers-Briggs assessment to students at Gateway. I cannot wait to start applying this training. Very few things have been as helpful to my professional growth as this assessment, and I look forward to helping NAU students take on their own process of growth.