In so many ways, I feel lost. I feel lost in the direction I want my life to take. I feel lost trying to figure out whether I truly know myself or not.
I remember that when the pandemic began, I told myself I was going to use the time in quarantine to plan everything out and be productive. I made lists of the courses I was going to take, researched possible opportunities and even still planned to study abroad. But now, as I draw closer to adulthood, I feel as if I have been trying to create a path for myself with an unknown destination.
I’ve been keeping myself busy with so many commitments, but I’m still striving to see the big picture of my future. I guess that these feelings are normal for every college student who is about to enter their 20s, yet I do envy those who seem to have it all figured out so early in life.
Perhaps these feelings of uncertainty are why I have always loved taking personality tests — to get a bit of perspective of my path, even if it is just one piece of the whole puzzle. It seems counterintuitive that one would need some external tool to reveal the inner workings of their mind, but these tests do reveal so much about one’s skills and talents.
Since people are inherently unique, I always thought it was impossible to group people into boxes. The only classifications I initially acknowledged were Type A and Type B personalities, since the categories themselves are very broad and easy to group people into. Throughout middle and high school, students were tasked to take aptitude tests and reflect on who we were during annual retreats. But tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type, the Enneagram personality test and even the five love languages test were very intriguing.
One day in school, my friends and I were bored and decided to take the 16Personalities test to distract ourselves from homework. I initially thought that the test’s questions would be a series of dull, vague statements, and I was not looking forward to answering another long barrage of questions for which I would just choose answers out of impulse.
But this test was different. I remembered taking the time to really reflect on each question. After all, I did want the results to reflect who I really am, and I could not just let my id dictate that for me. Upon learning my results, I could not help but feel surprised, which may seem odd since I was the one who completed the questionnaire. But the in-depth explanations of my strengths and weaknesses, some of which I was even unaware of, provided by the test report not only gave insight into who I am but also provided some context for why I am who I am.
Of course, our personalities are fluid and subject to change, and these tests showed me how my personality evolved from high school to college when I compared my test result from the past (ISFJ-T) to the present (ENFJ-T). The difference of two letters seems irrelevant, but to me it signified how I had grown as a person.
The test demonstrated that by taking the initiative to leave my comfort zone, I had become more extroverted and learned how to trust my instincts a bit more when navigating the world. The report also included fascinating tidbits about how specific personality types approached relationships and possible career opportunities. Most of all, the descriptions for each personality type are always positive, validating that every single person has a place to make significant contributions to the world.
As much as I thought I knew about myself, these tests revealed facets of my personality that I never thought to reflect on, giving me a more holistic perspective of my persona. For example, after taking the Enneagram test, I was not that surprised that the One and Three personality types (“The Perfectionist” and “The Achiever” respectively) were dominant for me — after all, we all know the Hopkins stereotype.
However, learning that the Two and Six personality types (“The Giver” and “The Skeptic” respectively) were other strengths of mine did help me form a better appreciation for my talents while making me realize that I needed to be more vulnerable with others. I also noticed that the Two personality type crossed over with one of my two dominant love languages, which is “acts of service.” Because the results from these different tests did connect to one another, to me, it strengthened the validity of the results.
Recently, I took the color personality test. According to this test, I am the color green, which is described as someone who is chill 24/7 and coasts through life without stress and anxiety. I’m still a bit unsure of the accuracy of that one.
While personality tests are fun to take because they explore the fluid nature of our growth and journeys, zodiac signs are another interesting measure of one’s personality. The thought that the time and place you were born can already predetermine your potential and success in life does sound bizarre, and I am well aware that horoscopes prey on one’s confirmation bias; they remain vague enough that many can relate to them but specific enough to make them feel special.
Yet it is still entertaining to learn that there are elements of my Taurus sign that align with my true personality, such as loyalty, ambition and stubbornness. My friends and I have already become so familiar with the stereotypes of our zodiacs that our Instagram direct messages are filled with astrology-themed memes and posts we use to call each other out.
Regardless of whether these tests and horoscopes are a true reflection of my personality, I know that the outcome of my future ultimately depends on me. Though I feel a little lost right now, there is no astrological force that I can rely on to get myself back on track. However, understanding my strengths, weaknesses and goals, whether through personality tests or self-reflection, is key to balancing my passions with my talents as I conclude my sophomore year and enter my roaring 20s.
Michelle Limpe is a sophomore from the Philippines studying Chemistry and Public Health. She is an outgoing News & Features Editor and incoming Managing Editor for The News-Letter. In her articles, she likes to reflect on finding the silver linings in life to give meaning to her struggles.