When I first registered for the 2012 International Enneagram Conference in Long Beach, I had to select which age range I belonged to as a participant. I selected the 20-30 year old age range despite being only 19 years old and I knew immediately that my experience was going to be much different from most of the other attendees. This got me thinking about how unique my relationship with the Enneagram has been from anyone else I’ve encountered. I first learned about the Enneagram when I was in sixth grade because my mother had recently been introduced to the Enneagram herself and was using it for both personal and business reasons. Knowing that most people find the Enneagram most useful during times of hardship, she taught me about the Enneagram after a friend of mine was involved in a fatal drunk driving accident. Learning about my type at a young age and during a very difficult time was immensely beneficial for me in understanding my feelings and why I was reacting the way I was (especially since The Enneagram of Death had not yet been written). From then on, I have continued to use the Enneagram for personal reasons—especially to understand myself and others better and understanding why, and how I interact with them.

I have only ever met one other person my age that has known about the Enneagram without me having told them about it first—which was great for several years (throughout my high school years?). But since going separate ways to college, I’ve yet to find anyone else my age to share this passion with. The Enneagram was never more than that to me for a while—a passion, a hobby, a personal thing—I had no aspirations to become a business development coach or therapist. Attending the conference with my mother was more of a “that sounds nifty! We’ll have fun!” idea than, “I will learn more on how to apply Enneagram to my future career!” idea.

After the conference, however, I recognized that the Enneagram is one of the few things I feel extremely confident in. I can discuss it thoroughly and thoughtfully, explain it in detail or in layman’s terms to anyone who asks, and use it in my daily life. The conference made me realize that even though I do not want to be an executive development or business coach, nor therapist or psychologist, I do want to introduce the Enneagram into my future career, whatever that may be. This realization, in turn, made me re-evaluate my current educational track (which at the time was Political Science). During the conference, I decided to change my major in order to more easily incorporate my knowledge of the Enneagram into my school plans—I am now a proud Human Development and Social Relations major— or HDSR—which is my school’s interdisciplinary major between Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology, and a much better fit for me. Attending the conference reinforced my decision because I realized that an HDSR major was essentially the Enneagram on a large scale and that I should major in something that I felt confident in and comfortable studying!

I hope to bring the Enneagram to more people on my campus and generation in the near future and despite still being unsure how I will infuse my love of the Enneagram with my future career, I am confident it will all work out and I have the Enneagram community to thank for it.