Macon County high school juniors and seniors, many of whom are fulfilling requirements for Bridge Builders Alabama, meet every other Thursday night at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee. Auburn University undergraduates work alongside them, as they develop skills related to life, work, and college. The program is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission.
We started off 2013 in style, and student Elizabeth Graham organized the group to play a favorite group game named Walmart. Two teams face off to see who can name a store item that corresponds to a random type and begins with a random letter, which results in hilarious outbursts and a few debates.
Following the game, students determined their personality type through an inventory known as the Myers-Briggs Assessment. The assessment makes the psychological types developed by Dr. Carl Jung understandable and useful to people’s lives. It’s not a measure of intellect or talent, and no personality type is better than another. But it helps us think about our preferences for taking in information, how we perceive things, and how we make decisions.
Some people, for example, are more introverted, meaning they find their energy alone in reflection, whereas extroverted individuals prefer more constant interaction with other humans. When it comes to making decisions, some people have choices basic on logic and consistency in thought, whereas others are more apt to consider the people and circumstances of a situation. Humans are complicated, and we never just act through either reason or intuition. But considering our personality types helps us understand what kinds of situations are best for us and how we might be more productive under slightly different circumstances.
Some of our students agreed that the MBTI pegged their personality types perfectly. Erin, who is aspiring to join the U.S. Air Force after graduation in May, needs information and situations to be laid out with organization, and he prefers logic and reason to intuition, when it comes to decisions. Students suggested several different careers that might fit different personality types. Conflict among friends and family often occurs because of personality types, and we hope in future meetings that we can discuss how to use personality types to understand and work through conflict in ways that helps all of us become more productive citizens.