“…I love learning about basically anything and everything.”
This quotation is from the “About” page of my blog. Why?
For quite a while, I have held the assumption that I have a natural itch for learning, and that I am one of those admirable people who have the ambition to gain as much information as possible. Admittedly, I have wanted to join the ranks of those who are delightfully insightful and intelligent.
But am I really one of these people?
Recently, I have questioned myself.
Not too long ago, I took a variation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (the official assessment is expensive; please excuse me) in order to validate or change my past belief in my status as an INTJ. It turned out that I was notified once again of my supposed classification as an INTJ. Since it was winter break and I had a lot of time on my hands, I started to obsess over my apparent personality type; I watched a multitude of YouTube videos and read plenty of articles about the characteristics of my fellow “Architects.” By doing so, I hoped to identify with the aforementioned type of people. Two major aspects of INTJ types stood out to me: education and friendships. The former subject has been a priority in my life lately, while the latter has been less prevalent. The relationship of them had previously crossed my mind, though it was through my research that I really started to think of their correlation.
It has been said that INTJ people are very intellectual, naturally seek knowledge, and reach for success in all areas. On the topic of friendships, particularly with females like myself, INTJ types generally do not have many friends, and may not even feel as though they fit in.
I do think of myself as a motivated person academically; I often remind myself of the potential positive effects of education that could improve this life that I am lucky enough to live.
I also can relate to the notion that INTJ females have a hard time fitting in. I have a very small amount of friends that I keep in touch with at all, and although I do not feel as though I easily assimilate into groups of peers my age, I have not had a problem with it. This acceptance is due to the fact that I try to embrace time to myself for my development, and I find social interaction to be draining. When I think of my lack of heavily-involved friendships throughout the years, I do often indulge in a moment of self-pity. On a day-to-day basis, though, I typically have no problem with only spending time with my family and in solitude outside of school.
These aspects of myself have lead to my confusion about how they interact. Do I really have a genuine interest in education, or do I dedicate so much of myself to it for the validation it gives me, which helps compensate for my lack of strong and consistent friendships? Is learning just a source of potential reassurance that is well-suited for the tendencies of my personality type?
This realization of mine has alarmed me in a way; I do not want to view myself as essentially an imposter, just looking for a way to find meaning in myself through the feedback I am given to in relation to my schoolwork, while I see most others finding it through social interaction with peers. My identity is essentially “student” at the moment, so assuming that I could be a completely different person if I was more social (or started to become more social) is terrifying to me.
This uncertainty goes a step beyond asking if I truly want to learn, or if I just want the advantages the excess of knowledge would give me; I am inquiring if it is frankly my preferred way of feeling as though I am worthy as a human being.
I do feel discouraged when I find some topics to be complicated. While some may brush them off, I want to prove to myself that I am an individual who will have a fulfilling life by putting in the effort and time to tackle issues. I will also admit that when I see people succeed at school and grasp concepts seemingly easily, my self-esteem temporarily drops down a notch. I feel as though these various instances may portray my view of education as a way to prove my potential as a citizen, rather than show an authentic drive to learn about various subjects of study.
I have tried to put myself in scenarios in my mind in which I am spending quality time with friends, and then asked myself some questions, such as “Would I still be thinking about schoolwork that I had to do during this situation, and would I be willing to leave early to get my assignments accomplished successfully?” I think I idealized these examples in my mind, but I still found myself imagining that education would still remain a priority in my day-to-day life.
I am beginning to reach the conclusion that I do have an itch to learn, but for multiple reasons. I definitely enjoy learning and feeling as though I can positively impact my future and society as a whole by being informed, as shown by my desire to find true interest in every course in which I partake. On the other hand, I think that I do find the school system to be a prized source of validation for myself, which adds another level to my motivation. It does seem to make sense that an introverted person such as myself would love the ability to receive feedback from others by putting in work individually, and often in my preferred environment of solitude.
If I craved spending time with others more often and found social activity to be substantially fulfilling, would I put less focus on my role as a student?
But with the way that I am (which may include being an INTJ), which offers strengths along with its weaknesses, will I continue to do what maintains and improves my self-efficacy in my ability to live a satisfying life? In other words, will I continue to embrace my love for learning regardless of my various rationale for my enjoyment of it?
I would love to know what you, the reader, think about your sources of validation and how your personality may dictate them. Do any of you who are more social find interaction to be just as fulfilling as learning (or even more), and does that affect your efforts in either domain at all? How do you find a balance between social interaction and education? Let me know.