The ISTJ personality type is thought to be the most common in the MBTI system. They’re the bedrock of society, dedicated workers and the core of the family unit. ISTJs are the quiet, logical and unassuming foundation of society, but that’s not all they are. Dismissing this type in any field would be a mistake, as they’re also dedicated to their goals and will easily outstrip less focused types. And this applies in their academic life as well. So for anyone who wants to understand more about the ISTJ type in academics, here’s a quick guide.
The ISTJ Learning Style
ISTJs are practical people who are focused in the here and now and this is fundamental to their preferred learning style. They enjoy order, and will create it if necessary, and have a deep respect for traditions and authorities that have stood the test of time. This usually makes them ideal students. Because of their practicality, they need to know how new information will benefit them or their life, which makes them hands on learners who need to be able to use things to truly understand them. Their incredible memories also make it easy for them to learn a vast array of facts and they can quickly take those facts and see how they can be used in a practical way. All of these qualities will serve the ISTJ well in most academic settings.
Learning Challenges for the ISTJ
Most ISTJs do well in school. They have a deep sense of personal integrity that drives them to succeed and their secondary function, extroverted thinking, likes to see results in the external world. This means that they nearly always finish what they start. But the main challenge in their learning may come from their very practical nature. ISTJs don’t like abstract or untested ideas, and may even become angry if they’re confronted with an idea that isn’t immediately practical or easily proven. This may not be so much of an issue in high school, but as their learning continues and expands it could be a major barrier to their learning and a source of frustration for the ISTJ.
ISTJs also like to be organized, which can present a challenge to their learning in this disorganized world. If a system, procedure or idea isn’t organized, and immediately applicable, it can unsettle the ISTJ and make them angry, or even make them switch off from their learning. In this sense, their deep love of order can be a barrier to their learning and continued development.
The ISTJ in High School
ISTJs will probably struggle a little in their social life in high school. For a lot of people, this is a time of high emotion and experimentation. Everything is changing, themselves most of all, and this is usually expressed in emotional displays and the need for emotional support. Unfortunately, emotions and empathy are not a strength for most ISTJs. In fact, they’re often thought of as cold and robotic due to their tendency to prioritize rational thought over emotion. This isn’t true of course. ISTJs have the same emotions as everyone else, but those emotions are turned inwards rather than outwards so others rarely see them.
The ISTJs tertiary function 1, is introverted feeling, which means they have a tendency to hide their emotions, and retreat when someone hurts them. They may do this so well and so coldly that others aren’t even aware of the emotional wound. This will be an ongoing issue for the ISTJ, and learning to open up to trusted friends and family will be one of the greatest challenges on their path to healthy and happy relationships.
The ISTJ will usually find the academic side of high school easy and rewarding. They find pleasure in getting things done, and in getting appreciation from the external world, so the traditional and organized structures and procedures of high school will appeal to them. 2 They also have a deep respect for tradition and authority figures, which makes them natural students who are a pleasure to teach.
Higher Education and the ISTJ
The ISTJ may find the social aspects of college life difficult. They’re usually punctual and ordered, and they hate it when people are late, don’t do as they promised, or when the outer world is disorganized. Unfortunately, this could be a description of college life. The ISTJ’s secondary function, extroverted thinking, likes to get things done. This function is dedicated to completing tasks in the most efficient way, and emotion is rarely a part of that process. This can create problems for the ISTJ in the college setting because other students and their loud emotional needs can get in the way of the most efficient path. This may lead to others seeing them as cold and emotionless, and to the ISTJ silently stewing in their own anger and frustration. To overcome these issues, ISTJs need to learn to incorporate emotions into their calculations and plans, and this will be an ongoing issue for them throughout their lives.
If they choose the right course for the right reasons, the ISTJ will probably excel in college. As long as their course is practical and concrete, and there’s a clear purpose for everything they’re learning, the ISTJ will dedicate themselves to their learning. Their deep sense of personal integrity just won’t allow them to slack off on something they’ve promised to do. And because they lead with introverted sensing, a function which is famous for its astonishing memory and recall, this combination of traits will take them exactly where they want to go in academics.
The ISTJ has the fortitude and the dedication to succeed in whichever field they find themselves. Throughout their academic lives they work quietly in the background, moving silently towards their goals while others flounder and question themselves. All this shows the true nature of ISTJs, that they are a force of nature that shouldn’t be underestimated just because they seem so quiet most of the time. In reality, they’re just as fierce and driven as other types, they just don’t see the need to shout about it.
- Butt Joe. “Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging“. (Retrieved Jan 2018).
- Dr. Drenth, A. J. “Extraverted Feeling (Fe)“. (Retrieved Jan 2018).
- Dr. Drenth, A. J. “Introverted Feeling (Fi) in INTJs & ISTJs“. (Retrieved Jan 2018).
- “ISTJ – The Inspector“.
- The tertiary function starts to develop later in life, and in this type usually results in deeper empathy and self-development. This will never be a strength of this personality type however, and they usually struggle throughout their lives because others often view them as cold and emotionless.
- The ISTJs primary function, introverted sensing, gives them a deep respect and appreciation for institutions that have lasted a long time, and therefore have a proven record of success. Even if that record is suspect, this applies.