WOW! What an experience this study abroad on the island of Spetses has been. I can’t believe I can walk to the beach after class, soak in the rays by the sea, then go right back to my dorm and finish my homework. This paradise has been nothing but a blessing, but I definitely had my highs and lows on this trip. I struggled a lot in the beginning due to a slight personality crisis I was facing. I had recently gone through an event where I was told I was too codependent, and it hit me very hard. I had always thought of myself as an independent person, so this threw me into a whirlwind of emotions during the first week of the program. I was rethinking my entire personality and was constantly worried about how I was perceived. This was until we read about the big five personality traits in our textbook for our Managing Organizations class.
When reading chapter 9 in our textbook, I realized a multitude of things about my personality through the big five personality traits. The big five personality traits consist of conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extraversion. I found myself connecting to extraversion the most, which was a sort of surprise due to my confusion regarding my personality at the beginning of the trip. I had always considered myself extroverted, but what if my perception of my personality was simply incorrect? I started to analyze how I was interacting with others, and realized I was actually very passionate and assertive (both aspects of the extraversion personality trait). During our first class, I went out of my way to talk to everyone and get a better idea of their stories and talk about our different passions. This confirmed that I was still the extroverted person I had always been, but I also found myself connecting to the agreeableness personality trait due to my courteous tendencies in these interactions. I found myself connecting with others and needing that connection to get through my class day. This was when I started getting discouraged because I had always thought independence meant being by yourself and not needing anyone to perform at your best, so why was I needing to be agreeable in my classes? Wasn’t I supposed to be extroverted and independent? I had so many questions about my personality and independence until I took a step back and realized that being independent doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t be agreeable. When finally utilizing the Big Five Personality Test in our textbook, I was the highest on agreeableness (with a score of 14), with extraversion running a close second (with a score of 12). After taking the test, I realized I was heavily agreeable, yet still independent.
This is when I realized independence is different for everybody. I don’t necessarily think that being independent is all about being by yourself anymore, because as humans, we need that agreeable side of ourselves to live. We need to connect with each other and, after reading our textbook, I realized I am the most independent I have ever been. My personality isn’t only one section of the big five personality traits presented in the textbook, and that’s perfectly okay. Now that I know my main personality traits when it comes to being an employee, I can use that for future jobs and applications, as well as my own personal benefit of knowing who I am, agreeable and independent.