Introverts, extroverts —what’s in a label?


Understanding personality types can help with career choices


Extroverts are outgoing people who seek the attention and companionship of others. They want us to love them, and in a way, they accomplish that goal. It is evident that Western culture prioritizes extroverted qualities such as sociability, dominance and assertiveness, but where does that leave those who fall on the opposite end of the spectrum?

It’s important to dispel the stereotypes surrounding different personality types. Introversion has come to be synonymous with shyness, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead of relying on typecasts, assessing individuals’ thresholds for stimulation may be a better way to differentiate introverted and extroverted qualities. A person who is introverted might be overwhelmed by too much interaction and would need to sanction “down time” after a spending time socializing. In contrast, an extrovert requires more stimulation to feel content and therefore loves being surrounded by many people. The two are presented as dichotomous, but most people wind up somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

College is a place where extroverts thrive. In a university where you can find a party all seven days of the week, it is no secret that many Rutgers students enjoy going out. Students who choose to stay home to watch movies, read books or do homework are often outliers. The nightlife at the University is not the only place where extroverts are shown preference: It is also in the structure of classrooms. In a large lecture hall, where an individual can easily get lost among hundreds of other faces, the ones who stand out to the professors are those who avidly participate and possess the gumption to talk to the professors after class. This presents a form of marginalization in which more introverted students, who are involved with the course material in their own way, are able to compete with their more boisterous counterparts. Therefore, the value of online forums, where students can respond to the professor and to other students, should be recognized. There are, of course, other ways for classrooms to be more inclusive, and these forms should be implemented as well. Everyone is different, and each student should have an equal opportunity to excel.

The reality is that the world will not always accommodate your needs. The world outside the University also leans toward praising the qualities of the extrovert, and we see this when the University will host career networking events or alumni networking events. Introverts are predisposed to do well in jobs that don’t require self-promotion.

You might find that you have profound interest in a certain field. In this reevaluation, Career Services is a resource to utilize. Their website states, “Once you have a better understanding of your preferences, you can choose college majors and career options that are consistent with those preferences.” The site offers three self-assessments to gauge your interests, skills and values, but still strongly encourages you to schedule a career assistance appointment to help you interpret the results. In addition to simply having resources like this made available on the career services website, Rutgers advising centers can also do a better job of helping students understand the relationship between our personalities and potential career choices throughout our college years.


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