[Enneagram Type 4] 4w5s and academia

4w5s and academia

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This is a discussion on 4w5s and academia within the Type 4 Forum - The Individualist forums, part of the Heart Triad - Types 2,3,4 category; A lot of people tell me I'm the absent-minded professor type. My room is a pile of books and I ...

  1. #1
    Type 4w5

    4w5s and academia

    A lot of people tell me I'm the absent-minded professor type. My room is a pile of books and I love discussing ideas.

    But I find myself a misfit in academics. I teach Religious Studies, part time. My core motivation in teaching is to bring out the spiritual meanings of the religions I am teaching, to show students how other people in the past and present have found a sense of meaning, truth in their lives, and to encourage students to consider issues of meaning and truth themselves. I focus on human experience and subjectivity.

    Most other teachers and most of the writing in this field, however, is more about the historical, political, sociological forces that moulded certain religious movements. It is about evidence and argument rather than 'feeling' one's way into the religion. I would any day be much more interested in knowing what went on in the heart of the people who wrote, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, rather than what was going on in the political milieu then.

    So, I find myself a misfit. People say I am a bit too emotional about things, too other worldly, or not historical enough. Sometimes my writings remind them of poetry appreciation rather than the academic study of religion. I'm considering not making a career in this field. I realise that my method is more akin to that of a spiritual/personal guide than a professor or lecturer in a university.

    I've been teaching master's level students and things may be a different at the undergraduate level.

    Are any of you other 4w5s in academia / research?

    Do you find a similar problem between your search for depth and meaning and the mainstream's emphasis on hard evidence, research, historicity, etc.? I imagine that such issues may be faced by 4w5s even outside the limited field of Religious Studies.

    How do you deal with it?
    White Light, White Light, White Light and 43 others thanked this post.



  2. #2
    Type 4w5

    I'm thinking of going into some type of psychological research, but I don't think I could do it for a long time because it's too dry and unemotional for me. The psychology aspect of it is the part that interests me. I've been writing research papers all semester, and I'm so sick of them. The only good part is maybe writing the introductions and discussion sections because I can be somewhat creative. And going down to the lab and doing MRI studies is interesting and fun, but I'm sick of looking at blood flow and brains. I'm much more fascinated by the animals when I go to the lab or when we discuss how the research could potentially help people. I guess I just deal with it by focusing on and appreciating the aspects of the field that I actually like so that they'll outweigh or at least find balance with the boring aspects of the field.

    I also find it reallyy hard to follow schedules, so that affects my performance in school and also affected me at my last internship. I tend to be late for most things because it always seems like there's a little leeway with scheduled times and deadlines. I have no clue why I continue to think that way haha. But my point is that I wish I could be in a freer environment.

  3. #3

    Well, I'm a 4w3 but I think you need to change your environment. Maybe, like you said, you would be happier teaching undergrad. But you'd still have to publish (well, I assume so anyway) and you'd still have to be in a similar environment. Perhaps you'd be happier in a more religious academic setting? I don't know anything about your field so I have no idea what out there.

    I wanted to be an English professor for quite a while. I didn't have an issue with the historical/political/psychological focus but that's probably because my head fix is 5w6. I knew some people who were driven absolutely batty by it. There were several reasons I decided not to go to grad school despite a decade of preparing myself for it, including the intellectually oppressive environment and the lack of opportunity for creative self-expression. Also, I realized I would hate teaching and that that would not only would that make unhappy but also be terribly unfair to my students. All that said, it was a tough decision to make and I imagine I would have been a lot more invested in academia if I had already gotten through grad school and obtained a job. Still, if academia is making you unhappy, perhaps it's time to move on? I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to tell you what to do with your life, this is just maybe something to consider.
    faizafaiz, faizafaiz, faizafaiz and 12 others thanked this post.

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  5. #4
    Type 4w5

    Quote Originally Posted by username123 View Post
    I'm thinking of going into some type of psychological research, but I don't think I could do it for a long time because it's too dry and unemotional for me. The psychology aspect of it is the part that interests me. I've been writing research papers all semester, and I'm so sick of them. The only good part is maybe writing the introductions and discussion sections because I can be somewhat creative. And going down to the lab and doing MRI studies is interesting and fun, but I'm sick of looking at blood flow and brains. I'm much more fascinated by the animals when I go to the lab or when we discuss how the research could potentially help people. I guess I just deal with it by focusing on and appreciating the aspects of the field that I actually like so that they'll outweigh or at least find balance with the boring aspects of the field.

    I also find it reallyy hard to follow schedules, so that affects my performance in school and also affected me at my last internship. I tend to be late for most things because it always seems like there's a little leeway with scheduled times and deadlines. I have no clue why I continue to think that way haha. But my point is that I wish I could be in a freer environment.
    What's your area of research / study? What kind of psychology?

  6. #5
    Type 4w5

    Quote Originally Posted by lifefullofwords View Post
    Well, I'm a 4w3 but I think you need to change your environment. Maybe, like you said, you would be happier teaching undergrad. But you'd still have to publish (well, I assume so anyway) and you'd still have to be in a similar environment. Perhaps you'd be happier in a more religious academic setting? I don't know anything about your field so I have no idea what out there.

    I wanted to be an English professor for quite a while. I didn't have an issue with the historical/political/psychological focus but that's probably because my head fix is 5w6. I knew some people who were driven absolutely batty by it. There were several reasons I decided not to go to grad school despite a decade of preparing myself for it, including the intellectually oppressive environment and the lack of opportunity for creative self-expression. Also, I realized I would hate teaching and that that would not only would that make unhappy but also be terribly unfair to my students. All that said, it was a tough decision to make and I imagine I would have been a lot more invested in academia if I had already gotten through grad school and obtained a job. Still, if academia is making you unhappy, perhaps it's time to move on? I hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to tell you what to do with your life, this is just maybe something to consider.
    Thanks :). So which area are you moving to now?

  7. #6
    Type 4w5

    Quote Originally Posted by faizafaiz View Post
    What's your area of research / study? What kind of psychology?
    I'm kind of all over the place, actually. I'm doing some social psych., personality, psychobiology, and animal mind research. Right now I'm working on an imaging study on fear in fmr1 knockout rats, which are rats that are essentially made to have Fragile X Syndrome, which is the primary known genetic cause of autism. But I'm also conducting an experiment outside of the lab inducing empathy to test in-group/out-group biases, victim perceptions, etc., and I just finished a study on extraversion, personality, and roommate rapport. I'm also writing a research proposal for an experiment exploring tigers' understanding of planning and time and their mapping of the world, but it's not actually going to be put into action. The part of me that likes research thinks it's awesome how some of my professors are funded to conduct this amazing research on campus, but I could never be a professor. It's too emotionally limiting and founded in routine for me. The only type of teaching I could see myself doing is maybe some type of life coaching.

    Obviously you're a very intelligent person, so I feel like you would relate to this - I feel like I tend to be competent in most areas, which makes me more likely to wake up one day, look around myself, and realize that I've been, for example, sitting in classrooms staring at brains or doing statistics despite a significant lack of interest.

  8. #7

    Quote Originally Posted by faizafaiz View Post
    Thanks :). So which area are you moving to now?
    I've decided I want to write creatively. It took me several years after I realized I would unhappy in academia to decide what I was going to do with my life instead. That period was difficult but I think it was worth it to spend that time reflecting. Once I dedicate myself to something I do it 100% and I didn't want to waste my time and energy on another long-term goal that would make me unhappy. One of the reasons it took so long is I enjoy writing, period - in fact, that's what attracted me to academia in the first place. But I realized I was going to become that stereotypical English professor and spend my life wishing I was writing novels rather than studying them. Writing creatively is not a very practical goal but I ultimately I realized that if I didn't go for it I would spend the rest of my life wishing I had at least tried so I owe it to myself to pursue my dreams.

    Specifically, I'd like to be a TV writer and eventually create and run my own show - but I'm not sure my health will ever be good enough for that. I enjoy writing novels just as much as screenplays but TV is hotter creatively and allows for a bigger platform. However, what really matters is becoming a successful storyteller and not the medium. I want to change the world and write something truly great but I also want all of the acclaim that comes along with being a critically successful writer. So yeah... I'm just a tiny bit ambitious LOL.

    I firmly believe that people should pursue their passions in life. Of course, first you have to find your passion.
    faizafaiz, faizafaiz, faizafaiz and 12 others thanked this post.

  9. #8
    Type 4w5

    "Most other teachers and most of the writing in this field, however, is more about the historical, political, sociological forces that moulded certain religious movements. It is about evidence and argument rather than 'feeling' one's way into the religion. I would any day be much more interested in knowing what went on in the heart of the people who wrote, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, rather than what was going on in the political milieu then.
    I am fascinated by all of it. And neither aspect is sufficient, though both necessary. I drool at the chance to learn about historical, political and sociological forces behind any sort of movement or era. It is key. But mainly because, as an atheist, I derive meaning from these sorts of things. Looking at how it all panned out, and when, and why, and how that relates to now. How each piece was a stepping stone to where we are now. This to me is essential to the heart. But that's because knowing it serves me to understand more deeply... I am not interested in it just to collect facts, that is dry...

    I don't feel the most comfortable with other academics because I love leaning these things privately but trying to share with them, talk to them about it, I feel isolated and alone... because it stops where I want to keep going. I hope this makes sense.
    Stolen, faizafaiz, faizafaiz and 13 others thanked this post.

  10. #9

    I'm looking to work in academia but more as a Librarian and/or Archivist. I can still work in an educational environment and impart knowledge, but not as a full-blown teacher.

  11. #10

    I talked about something similar to this last week with a professor I'm friendly with. I'm working on a master's degree (technical communication), but I don't want to teach or be an academic. I'm getting the degree for a better job than I have now because all I want to do is write. A few years ago, I had considered getting a doctorate and becoming an academic. While I know I would be just fine in a PhD program, I'm not an effective teacher. I don't want to compete for the few jobs available in literature and I don't want to become an adjunct because I know how they're treated.

    I love researching and learning and I'll likely get more degrees later on, but academia isn't for me long term.


     
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