I is for . . .

IInternship. Intention. Intelligence. Introvert.

I can’t decide. My year-long internship should start this Fall, but I first have to complete a six month practicum. My intention is to graduate by the end of next summer, but perhaps I should have used more of my innate intelligence to better organize myself toward this end.

On a completely different note, I have recently been thinking about whether or not I am an introvert. Whenever I take a personality test along the lines of the Myers-Briggs, I generally score right in the middle, usually with a tiny preference toward introversion.

The definitions of introversion and extraversion (yes, that’s the correct spelling) have less to do with how much one enjoys meeting new people and more to do with how one gets one’s energy. Does being with people leave you energized or drained? If the former, you’re probably an extravert. If the latter, if you get energy from being alone and recharging, you are more likely to be an introvert.

People often confuse shyness with introversion, but shyness isn’t about where one gets energy, it’s about social anxiety. At a recent AWP panel, Networking for Introverts, the moderator introduced the intersections of shyness and intro/extraversion in which we find shy extroverts and calm introverts, i.e. extraverts with social anxiety and introverts who have no problem interacting at, say, a cocktail party.ExtrovertVSIntrovert

I’m pretty sure that I’m a shy extravert, even though I’ve almost always test as an introvert. I realize I do get my energy from being around other people. I love interacting with groups of people that I know. Not so much with people that I don’t know. If I have to meet a new group of people, I have terrible anxiety. But, I know that being alone is not how I get my energy nor how I renew. I love a peaceful bubble bath as much as the next person, but I’d much rather go hang out and drink beer with a bunch of writers and talk about our blogs. That’s what gives me juice, and I do just that at least twice a week. If you’re interested in reading more about Carl Jung and his thoughts on introversion/extraversion, check out this article from Psychology Today.

As I contemplate my counseling career, I am looking forward to spending my days listening to and talking with people day in and day out. I know I might be a bit naive at this point, and maybe I’m just anxious to be done with school and in the field already, but I am not good at small talk and enjoy diving into the deep stuff. Seems like it’ll be a good fit.

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