Students explore influence of zodiac signs on individuality

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Clara Martinez

With the rising popularity of comparing zodiac signs, some community members have begun to evaluate the accuracy of their assigned characteristics and predictions based on birthdate. Students representing each of the 12 zodiac signs weigh the importance of aligning their designated traits with identity.

Eden Leavey and Clara Martinez

?From Capricorn to Aquarius, every individual has a zodiac characterized by a distinctive set of traits. These traits are determined by the position of the stars on their birth date. Zodiac signs have evolved from their Babylonian origin and development in ancient Egypt into their own facet of popular culture, per Time. Astrology has expanded from becoming its own section in the daily Economic London newspaper to a category on the Buzzfeed quiz site. 

Zodiac sign traits

Gabrielle Yurin (’23) said she and her family and friends agree that her personality resembles that associated with her zodiac sign – Cancer – as she said she often views the world through an emotional and perceptive lens.

“I’m definitely more sensitive than some people around me, and my mom will always tell me, ‘Oh, that’s so true about you. You always take things so close to heart,’” she said.

Meanwhile, Jason Papadopoulos (’24) said although his personality matches certain characteristics of his Leo zodiac, the descriptions are too general to hold real meaning.

“Zodiac assumptions are written so that many people can resonate with them,” he said. “When you say you’re some sort of zodiac sign because you see the assumptions, it really applies to a very, very large percent of the population.”

Similarly, Millie Griffin (’25) said non-descriptive definitions of each zodiac enable one to relate to numerous signs as “they’re not really that personalized.” Griffin said she does not relate to her Sagittarius zodiac given the inaccuracies in the assigned traits.

Nonetheless, if they maintain an open mind, Papadopoulos said people can still find connections between their predicted and actual personalities. He said this information can even be used as a tool for self growth if one recognizes the more negative characteristics in their zodiac and strives to improve themselves.

Alternatively, Eleanor Ilyas (’24) said she worries some people take the correlation between birth date and personality to an unnecessary extreme.

“Sometimes, people can read too much into the traits of their zodiac sign and then just become emblematic of that zodiac sign, which is usually fine, but then they start defining their personality by that zodiac sign, which can sometimes be a bit much,” she said.

Papadopolous said those who take these assigned traits too seriously run the risk of suppressing various aspects of their personality, using confirmation bias to align more with their zodiac sign. 

“Even if it’s not 100% true, you kind of make yourself think it’s true,” he said. “If you read what you’re supposed to be like and you notice those characteristics coming out, then you think it’s definitely because of your zodiac sign.”

Likewise, Griffin said by reducing oneself to the generic characteristics of their zodiac sign, it is likely people will develop a more close-minded outlook on their future and what they can succeed in doing in life.

While Yurin said she has seen people attempt to excuse their actions based on the traits of their zodiac sign, she said she does not believe a set of assigned characteristics can determine the choices one makes.

“Because it’s been such a trend lately in Western cultures, people have started to describe or justify their behavior based on their zodiac,” she said. “I do find that to be kind of pushing it because, at the end of the day, you are the one that makes all your decisions.”

Horoscope predictions

Horoscopes are predictions based on astronomical occurrences, often relating to the position of the sun, moon or various stars that foretell the future of each zodiac. 

Karina Medvedeva (’23) said she views horoscopes as highly inaccurate in their ability to predict the future. She said it is vital not to let a horoscope “dictate your life” and instead, one ought to focus on being encouraged by the predictions.

“If you read your horoscope and it helps you become a better person or helps push you to do something, then sure, go ahead, use it,” she said. “But in a general sense, I don’t really think that the position that Venus is in is going to dictate my entire next month.”

Furthermore, Ilyas said although she enjoys reading her horoscope, she does not believe that it is an accurate representation of her future. She said she tends to “take them with a grain of salt” as she said the predictions are unrealistic and arbitrary.

Personality quizzes

Similar to zodiacs and their corresponding horoscopes, personality quizzes provide insight into one’s characteristics, preferences and fate.

While Yurin said she questions the validity of zodiac signs, she said personality quizzes that involve inputting personal data are more accurate given that the quizzes can dissect patterns to arrive at evidence-based conclusions. Yurin said the Myers-Briggs “16 Personalities Test” is one example of a quiz utilizing factual information rather than unfounded claims. 

“[Myers-Briggs] actually makes you analyze not just how you are by yourself, but also how you interact with others and how you look at the world around you,” she said. “Maybe that’ll help you identify what kind of people or places you need to surround yourself with.”

Consequently, Yurin said upon starting the university process, Director of the Office of Student Advising Anne Richardson, Yurin’s university advisor, assigned the Myers-Briggs test in hopes of providing each student with a baseline data set about themselves.

“It’s an interesting starting point, but then again, it’s more of a tool to help you learn more about yourself, not so much the conclusion,” she said.

However, Medvedeva said no matter the number of questions a quiz includes, a computer system is incapable of processing the myriad details of an individual.

“Who you are as a person and your personality is such an intricate and complex subject that I don’t think that can be answered in a couple questions,” she said. “It’s not going to be able to know every single intricate detail, like the nuances of your personality.”

Sense of community

Zodiacs are growing in popularity on social media, according to Pan Macmillan. Ilyas said she attributes the rising interest in zodiacs to the sense of belonging that comes with being assigned a group of like-minded people.

“Finding your aesthetic became really popular and I think people want to identify with a group,” she said. “Like horoscopes, these personality quizzes give you a group to identify with, a group to belong to.”

Moreover, Griffin said the trending zodiac culture has infiltrated not only social media, but other facets of life, such as fashion style. She said she has found online fashion inspiration compilations that inspire people to become more like their zodiac sign.

Because of the developing style for each individual zodiac, Griffin said it “creates a sense of community” and is easier to bond with others.

“It creates a shared identity, and people are going to want to be a part of that group,” she said.

On a global scale, Yurin said the concept of classifying people according to their personality extends beyond Western popular culture. She said she recently became familiar with an equivalent grouping system common in Asia through a television program.

“We try to understand ourselves and we try to categorize ourselves somehow,” Yurin said. “For example, I just watched this South Korean show and they actually use blood type – that’s how they categorize themselves based on personality.”

Ultimately, Griffin said while people may enjoy having a community of like-minded individuals, the descriptions of each zodiac sign can constrain one’s uniqueness of personality and ability to express themselves.

“It’s generalizing people into groups, which is something that really surprises me about zodiac signs,” she said. “Today, everyone’s so accepting and trying not to put people into groups, and then we’re using zodiac signs to put people right back.”