The gentle INFJ is most often thought of in connection to relationships, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or don’t enjoy academics as well. In fact, this personality type has a depth of thought and a focus that makes them excellent students, and their dedication to improvement drives them to succeed in whatever field they find themselves.
The INFJs Learning Style
INFJs live their lives based on their emotions. This may seem like a problem when it comes to academics, but that depends on the material. INFJs learn best when they can see a human connection to the subject. They want to know how that new information can help people or improve their lives. This means that they need to learn information in context. There’s no point giving random facts to this type, they need to understand how those facts fit into the world and how it affects human lives. Having this context allows the INFJ to engage their emotions with the material, and that’s the best way to awaken their interest and get their amazing brains focused on the material.
INFJs adapt well to almost any situation. This type uses extraverted feeling as their auxiliary function. This allows them to sense the mood of a room and adjust to it in order to make others happy. In an academic context, this ability means that INFJs can easily adjust to the expectations and demands of any learning environment. There is a limit to this ability to adjust, but most of the time INFJs are able to focus and thrive in whatever situation they find themselves.
Learning Challenges for the INFJ
The INFJs greatest learning challenges come from their greatest strength. They’re extremely sensitive people, constantly aware of the mood of a room and of the individual people in it. This can create problems for their education. This type enjoys helping others and making them happy and this instinct can overwhelm their academic aspirations. In a classroom setting, they can become so overwhelmed with the emotional needs and the dramas of the people around them that it literally short circuits their thinking processes. This is also connected to their dislike of conflict, and can be a particular problem in the high school setting with its heightened emotions.
INFJs need a lot of time on their own. They use introverted intuition as their learning process, which means they need time to sit with the information, ruminate over it, and work out how it fits into their lives and into their minds. This need can be a problem in an academic environment, with people and noise and movement everywhere. In this type of setting, INFJs will usually have trouble focusing on the information and integrating it, which means they’ll quickly forget it. This kind of solitary learning isn’t understood or respected in most academic circles, so the INFJ will usually have to fight hard to get the time they need.
INFJs in High School
INFJs sometimes struggle to memorize strings of random facts, so may not always do well in tests. However, their ability to understand and integrate new information into their minds and lives gives them a deeper understanding than random facts ever could. This means that their understanding may not always be made obvious by high school testing, but they’ll have a bone deep understanding of the material that is far more useful.
INFJs are usually fairly popular in school despite their natural quietness. This type is warm and empathetic, and they often have people walking up to them on the streets to share their story. In the high school setting, with so much emotional turmoil and confusion, INFJs draw other students to them, most of them seeking the warmth and support the INFJ offers. This has its good points, INFJs love to help, but it also has its drawbacks.
With this constant influx of pain and turmoil, and little to no personal shielding at this stage of development, INFJs can get battered by these emotional needs. This can lead to emotional burnout, where the INFJ withdraws from other people and from life to protect themselves and to recover. Because of this danger, INFJs need to start learning to shield themselves at this stage or risk damaging friendships and their academic present and future.
Higher Education and the INFJ
INFJs need to choose their subjects carefully when they go into higher education. This type can learn anything, their brains have a remarkable ability to understand material that few other types can match. However, if they want to stay interested in the material and use it in a way that fits with their priorities, they need to study things that engage their emotions. This usually leads INFJs into the humanities rather than science based subjects, as these subjects have the human connections that this personality type craves.
INFJs will be just as popular in higher education as they were in high school. The effects of their empathy and warmth on other people never change, and INFJs often find themselves at the center of their social group wherever they go. However, at this stage of their development they usually don’t find that reality so emotionally painful. At this stage of life, the emotions of the people around them tend to be a little more stable than they are in high school, which prevents the INFJ from becoming overwhelmed. In addition, most INFJs have learned to shield themselves a little at this stage. This shielding will never be totally effective, it’s just not possible for this type to block themselves off from emotion completely, but it will give them some measure of protection from the emotions of the people around them.
INFJs are quiet and gentle people who love learning because they’re usually dedicated to self-improvement and self-knowledge, and any type of learning can help with those goals. They have their challenges when it comes to learning, mostly to do with their environment, but can overcome them with a little work, which will usually lead to them finding a great deal of satisfaction in academics.
- Branson Charis. “INFJs, The Secret To Living A Better Life Is Using Extroverted Feeling“. May 3, 2017. (Retrieved Mar 2018).
- “Learning Styles of the 16 Personality Types“. (Retrieved Mar 2018).
- Storm Susan. “ENFJs, INFJs and Empathy Burnout“. Dec 26, 2016. (Retrieved Mar 2018).
- “INFJ – The Counselor“.