By Cassie Appleton and Rebecca Dembkowski
In early August of 2017, Olivet hosted a Summit for all student leaders on campus. Ian Morgan Cron, bestselling author and teacher of the Enneagram, used the Summit to share the Enneagram with student leaders, so that they might become more effective in their leadership.
Since the Summit, the Enneagram has taken Olivet’s campus by storm, infiltrating conversations and instigating self-discovery.
The Enneagram was created in ancient times, but was rediscovered by psychologist Oscar Ichazo in the 1960’s. The Enneagram is a complex, analytical test that aids the person taking it in self-realization.
The test, which is available for free online, offers those that take it a “type.” There are nine different types on the Enneagram, and the type you receive shows you not only what you’re good at, but also your personality deficiencies.
Joey Ramirez, RD of Nesbitt and Chapel Worship Coordinator, said that the test helps him pair his RA’s to see who will work best together.
The Enneagram is “a test that reveals who you aren’t,” Ramirez said.
In hopes to better understand himself after hearing about the test from co-workers, Zach Tamez, an RA in the Oaks Apartments, bounced the idea around for a bit before deciding to take the test.
“It’s been a cool tool for me with self-discovery and knowing what I need to work on. Also, spiritually, it has helped me know how I can better serve with the way that I am,” Tamez said.
Senior AJ Kallas points out that the Enneagram is different from other personality tests such as Strengths Finder or Myers Briggs in that it is an “emotionally convicting tool that shares with us how we can be better”.
“I think that some students who are aware of the Enneagram, which not all are, have a misunderstanding on how this tool should be used. The enneagram doesn’t put people in a box—rather, it tells them that they are already in one, and they can get out of the box to experience more of who God is and how much He loves us,” Kallas said.
The test itself isn’t complex as far as the questions themselves go. After an individual has taken the test, their answers are processed and that person is given a type that best lines up with those answers. Cron encourages takers of the Enneagram test to further explore their type through books, online resources, and conversations with peers.
“It took me awhile to fully understand how the Enneagram works and which number I could most identify with,” Anna Richards, Sophomore Class President and Enneagram Type 1, said.
“As a Type 1 (“The Perfectionist”), I am constantly criticizing myself—what I could do better, what could change, how anything can improve. These things become projects and priorities, even if they don’t need to be.”
She concluded that she is learning to use her Type 1 tendencies to grow in Christ and in her relationships, instead of trying to run from those motivations. She pointed out the importance of “striving to know how He created us as individuals with strengths and weaknesses”.
The Enneagram is also noted as being useful for empathizing and relating to other people.
“Understanding people’s motivations changes the way I approach issues with them,” Chapman RA Micah Rodriguez said. “As an RA, I’ve learned that I should not categorize people based off a number, but even slightly understanding motivations behind their actions truly helps me relate with residents.”
If you are interested in becoming part of the campus conversation about the Enneagram by taking the test, or in exploring the various types, follow the links below.