This year has been a lot for many of us. Between the threat of killer hornets and the oh-so-awaited 2020 election, it’s felt like this year may never end. I was lucky enough to still get *some* interaction online in my college courses that started back in August.
One course really had me excited for my first *official* semester in school. I was lucky enough to get accepted into the Hill Scholar’s Program at Carroll Community College and our first course has already taught me much about myself.
Even the simplest of assignments were all working together to teach us more about who we are, what decisions are best for us individually, and how to use those decisions to get us further in life.
So… why am I writing to you about some course I’m excited about even though you may never take it? Well, that’s the thing. These may have been shown to me during my course, but whenever something new popped up, I wished I had thought about it sooner. Let’s talk about what really makes us who we are and how this plays into our daily life!
I’m warning you now, this will be quite lengthy as it deep dives into who I am to others and myself. I invite you to have these conversations with yourself as well, and if you’re comfortable, share your thoughts in the comments below!
Multitasking: Doing Nothing at All?
Let’s start with something said to me on my first day of class… which surprised me at how obvious it was, but that I had never put much thought into.
Before you get to thinking about all the times you’ve multitasked and done just fine, let’s think about this. I’ve multitasked a lot as a student with a growing list of responsibilities. I often have to multitask while listening to lengthy lectures or while recipe testing, and I thought I did it well! Turns out, none of us are very good at multitasking because we’re really not ever doing two things at once.
Multitasking is fragmented thinking: this, then that.
Think of it instead as short blips of one activity interrupted by the other. For me, a time to ‘multitask’ was during my meetings that don’t need notetaking. I’ll often fold laundry during these courses as it doesn’t take much thought, and I can still engage in conversation quite often. I chose laundry because it’s something I don’t think about much while doing it.
On the other hand, I know exactly what they meant when they told me this. I babysit occasionally and when doing so, there are only certain things I can work on. While I take notes quite easily and even draft essays fine, I would never schedule a meeting or test on a day that I am babysitting. This is because the notetaking allows for breaks where I can check on the kid or animals, whereas I feel that meetings and tests require my undivided attention.
I’ve since found myself wanting to multitask less. I still fold laundry during *certain* courses that don’t require taking notes. Other times I’ll be making lunch and playing review videos that I’ve already listened to once with full attention. I try to focus on getting work done task by task and take pride in a finished to-do list. I thought that multitasking helped me finish all my tasks faster, but now I save time by dedicating all my energy toward one task at a time.
E-value-ating Our Values!
It had been a while since I had been asked to list off my values and how I demonstrate them on a regular basis, but I’m glad this course did so. I’m pretty indecisive, so I’m glad I had a list to choose from when starting this. I narrowed my list of about 30 values down to 5 “super values” that were most important to me:
- Moral fulfillment
- Creative expression
As I mentioned before, it had been a long time since I last questioned my values and which were most important. The objective of this exercise was to see how our lives reflect our values, and how different tasks influence and reflect these values.
A strong sense of community is important to me because it helps me feel like there is a group of people that I belong with. 2020 didn’t make this easier, as many group functions were canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Despite this, I’ve been able to meet new people through online classes!
BTW… If you’re an online student this year, don’t sweat it if you’re not socializing much. You’re doing your part to #stopthespread and taking on these difficulties head first.
Assessing my values also made me realize how much of an influence my blog has on my life. I started my blog back in August 2016 without a clue of where I’d be by now. My blog and the opportunities that have stemmed from it have been detrimental to my post-high school career.
While I started it years ago, it has truly blossomed in the past two years. I have gotten in contact with small businesses, met tons of awesome new people with similar interests to me, and have gotten myself on track for this to be a long-term career. I realized how lucky I am to have something this interactive in my life that reflects all of my values.
It’s wonderful to meet new people with their own blogs and those who are here for entertainment. There’s a lot of moral fulfillment in knowing I have a voice. To help support other creators and get involved in the community feels so uplifting. I get to share my thoughts and ideas while creating a platform for others to discuss them–spoiler alert, it feels awesome to invite people to these open conversations.
There’s also a sense of stability with The Untamed Optimist. It has created opportunities for me to work with women-owned businesses and inspired me to start my own. I work in online marketing with other businesses while I balance the same with my own site. It feels great to create something new each week and to see how it impacts the business. Not to mention the freedom that comes with working for myself from home, especially with the current concerns.
I challenge you to write out a list of your top values. Start broad and then cross off or reword to make them fit you better. It’s good to know what we value in life because it helps inform the decisions we make.
How are your values reflected in the time and energy you spend?
Learning My Personality Type
If you’ve ever tried learning a bit more about your personality type or what kinds of decisions your brain is making subconsciously, you may have taken a “personality quiz” of sorts. There are thousands of quizzes available online to tell you which Disney princess you are most like and what exotic pet is best for you… but what about our actual personality composition?
That’s where the Myers Briggs test comes in. The Myers Briggs test asks many, many questions to get a good idea of how your brain is conducting your mental processes. These can be broken down into two kinds of processes:
- Taking in information (learning)
- Making decisions about the information (reacting)
There are 4 pairs of dichotomies that make up your “score” of four letters. Each letter stands for one of the options of the pair. While we all exhibit traits from each of the eight letters, some will come more naturally than others. This is because preference is natural and inborn.
E or I: Extraversion or Introversion
You may have heard of being extroverted, but what about being extraverted? Just kidding… that’s just the lesser-known spelling of extroversion, which is based on the idea that intrOverts turn inward, while extrAaverts turn outward. My professor best explained this to my class as where we find our energy.
It can also be thought of as :
- Extroverted: learns by doing or discussing
- Introverted: learns from processing or focusing on the moment
While I enjoy spending time with others and sharing my thoughts with them, it can get tiring after a while. I take time by myself to refuel and recharge the energy used to be sociable. This doesn’t mean I only ever want to spend time by myself, though, as I still need interaction on a pretty consistent basis to stay sane. The pandemic hasn’t made this much easier, though I find online classes and meetings to be a good midpoint.
I was surprised to learn that I am introverted, though it wasn’t so surprising after I put some thought into it. I enjoy quiet time to journal, blog, or just play with my dogs. This time spent alone is peaceful and hardly thought of as lonely. For those who are more extroverted, you may find the pandemic to be a damper on your plans as you thrive with others, and time spent by yourself may get overwhelming as it goes on.
S or N: Sensing or Intuition
This letter refers to how we take in information. While we all take in information in different ways, it can generally be described as sensed or intuitive thinking. As our professor invited us to guess our letters, they showed us a graphic and asked us to analyze the information provided. Our answers gave a great deal of information not only about the photo but ourselves as well!
Those who sense were very literal in their answers. They tended to describe exactly what was on screen, even noting details that the intuitive thinkers hadn’t noticed. Their focus was turned to the tangible information that we know to be true and can prove with evidence.
The intuitive thinkers in this exercise were thinking out of the box and focused less on minor details the artist included. They drew more conclusions about what they were seeing and turned to prior knowledge to gain an understanding of what is in front of them. These thinkers were very theory-based as they tried filling in the gaps the painting did not otherwise give us answers for. It is important that intuitive thinkers reference their theories of “why?” with the sensors who have a depth of knowledge of what and how.
It didn’t surprise me that I was considered intuitive, especially after the in-class experiment. My professor mentioned how intuitive thinkers may find it easier to draw conclusions from things, like when writing college and high school essays. I have always found this to be a natural skill and I enjoy making these conclusions in my writing, so this was no surprise.
T or F: Thinking or Feeling
Okay, okay… Hear me out. We all think and feel things all the time! But what if I told you one comes more naturally to you? I’m not talking about being more in tune with your thoughts versus your emotions, but rather how you think of being fair.
That’s right! How do you see fairness in society?
If you think fairness is based on everyone getting the same treatment, you may be a Thinker. Rather than questioning the circumstances each person is facing, you would be focused on the same treatment across the board.
While some people may have enough of what you are giving, others may not. This means that some people will have more or less than others. This is sometimes referred to as equality!
Feelers focus heavily on the circumstances that individuals are going through. This will influence how much they give to one person over another. One may need accommodations that others don’t need, so not everyone is getting the same. However, in the end, each person will have the same of everything. This is known as equity!
Personally, I believe in equity over equality, because it is more resourceful and helps focus on the direct needs of others. Having access to the same tools and resources is important, but it doesn’t help to give someone the resources they already have. Instead, I find it worth the extra time and energy to do research and find the individual needs before making a change.
J or P: Judgement or Perception
It can be easy to assume we are ‘judgers’ or ‘perceivers’ because of our involvement in debates and tough conversations, however, this is not at all what the letters stand for!As it turns out, this dichotomy represents the order in our lives and how we take comfort in it.
For example, I am open about my avoidance of an “office job” or one where I’d end up in a cubicle. Instead, I work from home and take pride in my flexible schedule with few limitations. While some people may find this overwhelming because you have to create your own work schedule (and stick to it once it’s made!), I find it calming to be in charge.
I am a perceiver, most likely because of my love of freedom and flexibility. I still need structure and organization in my work and home life, but I don’t have an issue with creating it for myself. I’ve heard that perceivers can be considered those who enjoy open-ended plans, rather than something scheduled out down to the hour. Ironically, I use Google Calendar to schedule my days by hour, but that’s just another way that our individual preferences override labels!
Judgers are more likely to enjoy working from a schedule that feels complete. This is tied to the idea that they enjoy more structure, as there is confidence in an orderly plan with a neat beginning, middle, and end. Judgers will find themselves needing a problem to be completely settled before moving on, while perceivers don’t mind making last-minute decisions.
Putting it all together
I’ll be honest with you, I hadn’t expected this course to have as much of an impact on my first semester as it did. We take part in group meditation often, at least the Google Teams version of it, that is. We discussed topics that every one of us could relate to and even stuck to smaller groups so we could be closer to each other from afar.
I found myself enjoying online courses last year as a dually enrolled student. I took some college courses during my senior year to jump-start my education and didn’t mind the online layout. Despite this, I couldn’t have imagined how difficult things could get when ALL classes are online. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to class in my pajamas and being in the company of my pets, but it can be pretty difficult sometimes.
We all need breaks sometimes, and this class really provided that for me. Rather than simply focusing on my equations and essays, I could take time to analyze my actions and emotions.
As a student, I know we all need to take more time for ourselves and focus on the what and why behind our thoughts. We can all get so caught up in schoolwork that we forget about lasting relationships with our inner selves and others.
Whether you’ve been following along with my blog or if you’re brand new, you should know that I’m all about being at peace with myself and my surroundings. It’s a journey I’m still embarking on and will for a long time, but I invite you to join me.
Start by asking yourself how these things apply to yourself and why!
If you are new here, hello! My name is Shannon and I’m the Untamed Optimist! I am a college student, a lifestyle blogger, and an independent contractor with my own business at 18. I’m using my platform to bring young women together and try to give tips as I go along. Growing up isn’t always easy, but that’s why we turn to each other in times of need!
Got a pressing question or just want to reach out? Swing over to my Instagram @TheUntamedOptimist to send me a message or get involved with ongoing conversations!