As part of Connecticut College's career program, the career office offers a number of workshops to help students prepare for internships and jobs. When students take the workshop about personalities, they find out what Myers-Briggs personality type they are. When I first took this, I distinctly remember being told that my personality type was one that did not take criticism well ... which I took as a personal criticism, thus fulfilling what the test had just concluded. Since then, I have been working on trying to take everything less personally, especially when it comes to my essays and any sort of constructive criticism. This challenge was put to the test last week in my "Writing the Short Story" class, when the short story I wrote was “workshopped” by my classmates and professor.
How a workshop works: The person whose story is going to be worked on sends out that story the week before, then everyone reads it and makes comments over the weekend. On Tuesday, everyone comes in already having read the story, then discusses the story while the author sits there silenty, taking notes. When it came to be my turn, I was scared that no one would like my story and anything critical they said about it would feel like a personal attack. To combat my fear, I had several (very critical) friends read my paper and give me comments on it so I would feel better prepared for my workshop. We kept joking all week that this was going to be my exposure therapy, but even with all that preparation, I was still terrified when the day arrived. Despite my worrying, however, my classmates and professor we’re very respectful when it came to critiquing my story (as they are with all of the stories in the class) and I received very positive feedback.
Now, I will say, I have not mustered up the courage to go through all the individual written comments they made and gave to me about the story. That will come soon and be round two of my therapy session.