We talk about our vocation as simply another term for a job, but it actually comes from the Latin word for “calling”. I think that most college students, whether they are aware of it or not, are internally searching for a calling or at least some type of passion.
Because of this, many of us (including myself) can feel lost amidst the quick pace of our classes and the competition for grades.
Here is a reminder: it is normal to feel this way! Finding a passion or vocation is part of the transition into adulthood. Also remember that everyone finds it at a different stage in life. Some find it as a teenager, some in college and some not until they’ve been working for years. Plus, a lot of people have several passions that are important to them, and these grow and change throughout life.
I want to encourage you, as a fellow student, to begin the process of thinking about your vocation or some of your passions while you’re in college so that you can go into the workforce with confidence in what you want to do, but more importantly in WHY you want to do it. My hope is that you will feel at least a bit more at peace within yourself and resist getting too bogged down in day-to-day student life. This might feel like a daunting task, but it is so worth it, and I have a short list of advice on how to start.
1. Get a journal and write in it as often as you can.
Write down thoughts you have on current events, reflective thoughts on things that may be bothering you, quotes that you find inspiring, or even poetry to yourself. I have done all of these things, and I can promise that I am no poet, but I found all of these writing styles helpful!
2. Take scheduled breaks away from social media, the internet, and contact with others altogether.
Usually, the most productive way that you can reflect on your life is when you shut everything off and are truly by yourself, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.
3. Start deep conversations with family or friends.
This one is sometimes difficult to get started, but creating spaces to discuss what inspires you with the people closest to you can help spur new and helpful thoughts!
4. Ask your professors or other adult mentors about their life experiences.
The best way to learn is from experience, as they say, but since we as students don’t have a ton of it, asking those around us who do is the next best option!
5. Take every opportunity to get experience in things that interest you.
Do internships, undergraduate research, join organizations and professional societies, and volunteer at places around town. Get out of your comfort zone a little. Again, experience is the best teacher!
Note that this is not a “cure-all” prescription that will help you find some specific passion.
Remember that it is a process and that there is no single right or wrong answer to the question of what will inspire you to get up each morning. But hopefully, if you start practicing some of these things throughout your college experience, you will at least know more about yourself and how you view the world. And hopefully, you will leave college with a better sense of what your passions may be. Then you can go out into the world with a reason to find that vocation, whatever it may be.
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