Choosing your Vocation

Voh-kay-shun, n. what happens when you find that place your heart’s been telling you to go.

Vocation is a journey, not a destination.

Frederick Buechner famously defined vocation as the place where your heart’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. It’s another way of talking about finding meaning in your life, and finding meaningful things to do with your life. Your education at K can be a tremendous help along the path to vocation, because the liberal arts offer you so many powerful looks at deep meaning through the study of many disciplines.

The biggest and best thing you can do to discover your own vocation is to be open to and curious about the world. Look closely, listen carefully, and keep asking the big questions. The poet Mary Oliver wonders openly about the open question of vocation in her famous poem, “The Summer Day”:

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?lake
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

— Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”

The CCPD at K can help you, every step of the way!

The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) has friendly staff and a ton of resources to help you navigate the journey toward figuring out what you want to do with your life–professionally, and in other meaningful ways, too.

Make a point of getting to know their staff, going to some of their cool events and paying attention to the special things they do for K Sophomores. One of them is helping you to plan for study abroad, where some big choices are made. Visit the CCPD website for a wealth of information!