I’m in my final year of undergrad right now and let me tell you—being an ENTJ in college is not easy.
College isn’t exactly easy for anyone, but I do think that some personality types are more suited for school life than others. I’m an ENTJ, one of the rarest female types, and although I love the college experience, school frustrates me to no end. I just can’t wait to get out into the real world—as much as I love college, I feel like it’s this little fishbowl that I’m stuck in, looking out on everything that could be, told I need to be content to swim around in circles until I pay my dues and get to graduate into the real world.
I wrote a post a while back about what it was like being an ENTJ Christian girl, and it got so much positive feedback that I decided to talk about it again! So, before we go any further, here’s a quick overview of what it means to be an ENTJ:
E- I’m an Extrovert, not an Introvert. Being around people gives me energy, recharges my batteries. I process things by talking about them out loud rather than thinking about them alone.
N – I’m iNtuitive, not Sensing, I think in terms of the big picture, with my focus generally on what could be rather than what actually is. I go with my gut when making decisions, and trust my instincts rather than focusing on gathering data from my surroundings and the past. I’m a visionary.
T- I’m a Thinker, not a Feeler. I naturally value on logic and make my decisions based on what I value as being right. I don’t put as much emphasis on others’ feelings/emotions, or my own, for that matter.
J – I’m Judging, not Perceiving. I have a strong sense of what should be, and get frazzled when it doesn’t happen. I like plans, and make decisions quickly based on the situation directly in front of me. I’m not very good at just going with the flow or being in the moment.
That’s just a quick snapshot of what being an ENTJ means, let’s talk about being an ENTJ in college!
Overall, college has been a wonderful experience. I have an opportunity to learn about anything that I want, and I’m surrounded by others who are like me. That being said, a lot of parts of college are just not at all compatible with my personality. And it’s fun to commiserate over our shared struggles, so let’s get to it!
1. Details. Everywhere.
I am so not a detail person. I’m even worse with this than most ENTJs, too, since my N is off the charts (N is more big picture—S tends to be detail-oriented). I forget about extra readings, I miss stupid things in formatting, and it’s only been over 3 years of university that I’ve managed to find a system that makes sure I have all the details covered.
2. I’m powerless to change anything
I have no problem getting a bad mark on something that I did wrong or didn’t put my full effort into. I’m not one who will just BS her way through office hours to try and get those extra 4 marks—I’m really not. That being said, I cannot stand when I get a bad mark because of arbitrary marking or because my professor is just wrong. I have had some professors that I have great respect for because they were willing to admit when they were wrong, but there are so many that were just completely off and didn’t want to admit it.
3. Group projects.
I know what you’re going to say, “Oh, but Becca, no one likes group projects!” but you don’t understand. Group projects are completely, utterly, existentially against everything I am as a person. Everything about group projects is terrible. They’re inefficient, and I have to collaborate with others. I love people, but find it frustrating to work with them if they’re the least bit less efficient than I am. Just give me the whole darn thing and I’ll get it done faster and better than if I’m forced to work with other people.
4. Having to write what the professor wants, not what I think is right
A major fault I know that I struggle with as an ENTJ is the tendency to not be very patient with people who think differently than me. I can see the merit of their position, but since I am so sure of my own rightness I’m sure they’re wrong and it’s just seems very inefficient for them to stay wrong, so I don’t see why they just don’t start being right already. This is especially true when we’re discussing anything like prenatal genetic therapy, or other things I’m very morally passionate about.
5. My competitive nature makes grades unbearable
This is probably mix of being homeschooled until university and being an ENTJ, but being graded was a huge shock for me. I didn’t even realize how much of an effect it would have until I was placed in a position where I could compete with other students. As soon as I can compete I must compete, and it drives me crazy when I know I’m not doing as well as someone else in the class.
6. I can’t keep my mouth shut!
I’m an opinionated extrovert, which means that my hand just naturally goes up in class. All the time. I swear I’ve tried to stop, but I just can’t! I need discussion and debate, I love it!
7. Getting upset cripples me
I love how all-or-nothing I tend to be and how rational I am, but when I get really upset neither of those are helpful because it just means that I’m 100% upset and I’m left with tools for handling logical things, not emotions. When I get upset, I get really upset, and have a hard time pulling out of it (Connor’s great for helping me with this).
8. I feel ready for the real world, but I’m stuck.
As an ENTJ, I’m made to be productive. I love learning, and I love academia, but I’m not made for it to be all that I do. I want to work, I want to help (I want to be where I hope to be at 35, that’s what I want) and I want to do it now! I am looking forward so much to grad school, where what I’m learning will have a real, direct impact on what I will do the rest of my life. This boils down to an inability to just be present in the moment—I don’t enjoy learning for learning’s sake, I need to be actively doing something that will make a tangible impact.
9. I fixate
I will get so engrossed with my literature review for my honours thesis that I’ll forget to make dinner or take care of the apartment, when all of my other friends seem to juggle their home life, church life, school life, and social life effortlessly. I can do one thing at a time—either I’m dealing 100% with social life or 100% with academics or 100% with homemaking. If I try to do more than one I get really overwhelmed and it just stresses me out. I’ve found ways to deal with this, but still—it’s hard!
10. I don’t believe in weaknesses—I believe in obstacles
This may seem like a benefit, but trust me—it’s not. A part of having a healthy outlook on life is understanding your limits as well as your strengths. When I feel limited, I think the answer is that I haven’t worked hard enough, not that I’m actually not capable of something. So the answer is that I continuously bash my head against the wall, so to speak, instead of just turning around and taking a different path. This creates a lot of stress, but I’m working on just accepting when I’m not the best at something (oh gosh that sounds so childish…).
11. I see a better way to do everything
Well, at least what I think is a better way. I see how the textbook could have been written better, how the slides could be organized more clearly, how the assignment could be different to truly cover the course content, etc. Even though I know that my professors have years of experience that I cannot even begin to match, but the ENTJ side of me can’t help but see what to fix.
So there you have it! Those are some of the hardest things I find about college.
What are some things you love or hate about college? What’s your Myers-Briggs type? I’d love to chat more about it!