Junior Park Scholars Participate in Leadership Workshop
By: Elizabeth Stoltz, '13
MBTI. ESTJ. INFP. ENTJ. Do these letters mean anything to you? Before September 23, 2011, these acronyms may not have meant much to the junior class of Park Scholars either. However, after two hours of thorough self-reflection, bonding, and of course, cookies and fruit kabobs, we became well versed in the art of expressing how we function best. The acronyms listed above are the crux of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test (MBTI), the focus of our Leadership Workshop session. By the afternoon’s end, we could all identify our own acronym that encompassed our basic psychological Type.
Under the direction of Michele Lenhart, Ithaca College’s Director of Student Leadership & Involvement, our Park Scholar class was asked to spend the afternoon discovering our MBTI Type. According to Myers-Briggs, there are sixteen possible psychological Types that revolve around the following values we place on being an extrovert vs. an introvert, sensing vs. intuition, thinking vs. feeling, and judgment vs. perception. These exercises helped us determine how we, as individuals, interpret the world and ourselves, digest information, communicate with others, and form relationships.
Jenna Jablonski, one of the participants, reflected, “I think Michele did a great job leading the session and surprised us with the activities we did.” Lillie Fleshler, another participant, commented that her favorite activity was creating an abstract representation of her dream job. Park Scholars were asked to select crafts supplies from a table filled with buttons, glitter, feathers, clothespins, and more to “design something that represented our ideal career,” explained Lillie.
Michele emphasized the importance of MBTI to student leaders and explained that when leaders know their Type and the Type preferences of the majority of their teammates, they can better work with and lead a group. She stated, “This helps groups figure out the strengths and weaknesses of their teams and individuals' roles on the team.” For example, a team with a lot of intuitive thinkers, the group might take a “big-picture, imaginative approach for problems.”
She went on to explain that MBTI types could be helpful in students’ daily lives too. Michele explained, “Students can use Type to determine their best-fit approaches to writing, studying, problem solving, communicating with friends and family, and even choosing a major/career path.” Jenna added to this sentiment saying, “Being aware of each other’s personality types, or even being aware that there are differences, they all can achieve the same goals.”
Despite having spent that past three years together, every Park Scholar left with a deeper understanding of one another. Lillie was surprised by the amount of extroverts in our class. However, she explained, “It makes sense because as Park Scholars you do need to know how to put yourself out there.” Jenna saw the Leadership Workshop’s utility in future saying, “When it comes to collaboration within our class, I see the MBTI training as a way of being on the same page with our Park Scholar Peers. This could be really helpful in our group service projects.” She added, “The activities were just really fun. It was great to get to know my peers in a new way.”