From I to E

Coming to terms with changes in my personality as I grow older


Photo | Nithya Appannagaari

Kathryn Foo

At the beginning of my freshman year, as an icebreaker for my Writing for Publication class, I took the 16 personalities test. The ultimate goal of the assignment was to determine the type of person you were — the four measly letters somehow managed to accurately represent how I’ve always seen myself. When I got ISFP, I was not surprised. ISFP, or Introvert Sensing Feeling Perceiving, resonated with my then quiet yet emotional tendencies.

I attributed this result to the stable social life I had growing up. At an early age, I surrounded myself with a strong group of friends that I stayed close to for the majority of my childhood. Within that friend group, I never had to be the most outgoing person. I was content with being the quiet one, occasionally contributing to conversations but otherwise happy to be in the company of more sociable people. 

Then, I moved. 

After spending all of elementary and middle school with the same people, in the same place, I was thrown into a new environment: MVHS. Here, my lack of experience in making new friends and meeting new people burdened me. 

In the past, I always had the option to sit the conversation out and still feel comfortable with the people around me. Now there was no safety net. Facing the new environment, the novelty of the situation left me without the luxury of comfort. The awkward conversations and forced interactions were all that little ol’ introvert me could manage. 

Still, my desire to have a boisterous friend group remained. Despite my typical lack of speaking, I still missed the times when laughing and having fun together with friends came naturally.

Such was the core motivation behind the new Kathryn: the approachable new girl, always smiling and ready for conversation. I would walk up to new people and pretend not to be offended when they walked right by. I told myself to laugh a little louder, smile a little wider and genuinely put myself out there. All the while, I understood that this new facade that I was forcing myself into wasn’t me — rather it was what I’d have to become to get what I wanted.

But soon enough, this facade slowly blurred into my real life. I started voluntarily talking to the people who sat at my table during class. I began priding myself on filling the awkward silences. With time, I chose to take off my disguise less and less; the make-believe personality I had curated unknowingly imprinting itself onto my identity.  

I still enjoy the company of a book more than everyday people. It was more that my circumstances had shifted and I had adapted alongside them.

Going into Journalism class this year, I was told to take the 16 personalities test for an icebreaker again. This time around, the results genuinely shocked me, to the point where I retook the test twice to ensure that the website software wasn’t bugging. 


I had grown up defining myself as the introvert, the quiet girl who would rather read a book in the corner than have a conversation. So to see data so clearly telling me otherwise threw me off. Yet, as I reflected on who I was at that specific moment, sitting in that Journalism class, staring at those results on the screen, I think I understood.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t that girl anymore. I still enjoy the company of a book more than everyday people. It was more that my circumstances had shifted and I had adapted alongside them. I didn’t inherently change who I am but instead learned to be comfortable on the spectrum of extroversion to introversion.  

It is the plain truth that there are going to be inevitable moments in our lives, both good and bad, that we are not suited for. So, we learn and we grow. 

We are defined by a series of actions and reactions. As the world around us continues to spin and the circumstances continue to change, what we are left with is how we adapt to whatever comes our way. It is our job then to look around us, recognize the spinning craze that is life and change with it.