You may have heard the saying that people are a product of their environment, and if you’ve ever thought about your personality, you’ll find a lot of it has to do with where you grew up and what lessons you learned. Receiving a post-secondary education at an alternative liberal arts college is a large cultural change in a student’s life. It often means leaving home, being exposed to types of people you have never interacted with, and being immersed in classes which change and broaden your perspective. Many people note how much they change in college, and the extent to which culture plays a role in the development of personality in your college years is practically inarguable.
Liberal Arts Courses
At Shimer, courses such as “Society, Culture and Personality” can help students understand and theorize about the relationship of the individual human being to society. Texts such as The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois and selections from Karl Marx and Max Weber can introduce students to the idea of whether a person is truly a product of their society, and what it means to be considered an individual. One key question pertaining to personality is whether or not we are born with a genetic personality and society actually just shapes the personality we are born with, or if we are constantly developing what our personality is.
Attending a liberal arts college in Chicago from a different state, or a different country, means that you are voluntarily immersing yourself in a very specific culture. This is both American culture, and within it, the microculture of the city of Chicago. Some notable culture-defining aspects of Chicago are improvisational comedy, blues, jazz music and architecture. A shared enthusiasm of sports highlighted by the city’s many professional teams is another aspect that might influence our personalities. Chicago is most definitely a city that likes to stand out, and this cultural attitude may end up rubbing off on your own personality, depending on how involved in the city life you become and how long you live here.
Carl Jung’s Personality Theory
Some of the most renowned theories we have today on personality are the work of 19th and early 20th century psychiatrist Carl Jung. Jung is known for his categorization of “types”, where each psychological type corresponds to predicted behavior. His research of extrovert and introvert personalities today defines how many view themselves and an informative measure by which people view others. Our liberal arts education features courses in the social sciences that encompass society and culture in relation to psychology and anthropology, while incorporating the research and studies of great thinkers like Jung.