I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder test, and discovered that my strengths are Learner, Harmony, Relator, Responsibility, and Deliberative. After reading about what each one meant, I realized they describe me pretty well.
Learner: I love to learn, I do things for the sake of just learning, and I love sharing my knowledge with others. This Learner strength is evident when I do things like take extra or more challenging classes for fun. For example, I took organic chemistry simply because I wanted to learn about it, not because it counted for anything in my major or helped my GPA. I purposely take challenging course loads because for me, learning is the important thing, not my grade at the end of the day.
Harmony: This strength means that I always look for areas of agreement, trying to keep conflict to a minimum. The description says, "You can't quite believe how much time is wasted by people trying to impose their views on others. Wouldn’t we all be more productive if we kept our opinions in check and instead looked for consensus and support?" This completely resonated with me, because it is in fact exactly how I feel. I tend to keep my opinions to myself if it is in conflict with someone else's and there is no need for me to share mine, because it just creates useless conflict; if I do share it, I do my best to present it logically and highlight the overlaps before explaining the differences. If other people are are arguing over their opinions, I often have to remind them that everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
Relator: The theme of Relator describes my view on relationships with people (and is completely accurate!). I care more about having deeper, more meaningful relationships with a few people than shallow ones with lots of people. This means I take the time to get to know people, no matter who they are, and I find ways to relate to them. This has been a commom theme in my life, but I never how to explain it. When I was doing gymnastics, most my teammates were younger than me (youngest by 7 years), but I still got along with them really well and was good friends with them - it was natural to me. I had one teammate who was a year older than me, but she never bothered to get to know them, thinking they were too childish and immature. Thus, I was always looked up to as the team leader, because I was the one who got along with everyone. This remains true today, as I have a very wide age range of friends - my youngest friend is twelve, and we do wushu together. For a long time, I was the only college student she would talk to, because I tried to get to know her and treated her as an equal, showing her that she could teach me things, too. On the other end of the spectrum, I have adult friends in their thirties, who I relate to in a very different way, but no more or less meaningfully.
Responsibility has been a word I've used to describe myself for a long time, but I never thought of as a strength on its own. I have always thought about it in conjunction with leadership, but I realized that responsibility is pervasive in my life. I take commitment seriously, so when I say I will do something, I will do it with all my heart and see it through to completion, no matter how big or small it is. I can trace this back to Kindergarten. My elementary school (K-8) had a rule that you were only allowed to have the official school water bottle at school. My dad bought me the $5 water bottle, handed it to me on the first day, and said "If you lose it, you have to buy a new one yourself." I promised him that I would not lose it (because 5-year-old me thought $5 was a LOT of my own money!). So I took my water bottle to school every day for 9 years, and made sure I didn't lose it. I still have that water bottle. This attitude of responsibility extends to everything from my formal responsibilities in leadership roles to always being on time for class and activities to not losing my water bottles. I am known to be trustworthy and dependable.
Deliberative: Lastly, I am Deliberative. I had no idea what this meant at first, but I came to realize it describes me perfectly. I am careful, I think everything through down to the little details, and I take time weighing options to make the right decision. I am good at looking at many sides of a situation, and my friends often look to me for advice because they trust my carefully considered opinion. I plan ahead, considering everything that could go wrong, and take as many measures as I can to mitigate potential problems. In the end, this means my plans are usually flawlessly executed, whether it be a crazy trip to see three friends graduate from three different schools in three days, or a large event like a middle school robotics competition.
If you'd like to read the full descriptions of these 5 strengths, you can here: GallupReport.pdf