One of the things that I enjoy most about working with college students is the very real and intense transitional phase of life they find themselves in during the college years. It is a very exciting time with life changing questions and decisions, and I can’t think of any other phase of ministry that is exciting as this one…for me at least.
The question of vocation comes up quite a bit during those 4-5 years. Students often change majors several times trying to find what fits best. Students often graduate with a major they are no longer passionate about. Students often study and graduate in a discipline that they don’t intend to use, but it got them the diploma they wanted.
Often, working here in Los Angeles, I have many students who come out to go to school to earn a degree because they feel that’s what they are supposed to do. Or a lot of the time the pressure comes from the parents. But a few years into their education they feel unmotivated and not excited or passionate about what they are studying, and they pursue something else. This happens with many of my students who enter the entertainment industry and pursue music, acting, modeling, dancing, et cetera, full-time. That’s what they had always been passionate about, but that wasn’t the “respectable” thing to do, or the “responsible” thing to do. Parents often push kids towards what is practical, though what is practical is a lot of the times what we are not very passionate about.
What should I do with my life? What is God’s will for my life? Those are huge questions and ones that I have tackled at other times, but one’s I will need to post on again. Scot McKnight posted a couple of blogs on Vocational Angst, especially as it relates to college students, and he also posted on Vocational Angst as it relates to conversion to Jesus Christ and a possible shift in vocations because of it.
Scot mentions the book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer in his post. That book is phenomenal and a must read when it comes to the issue of vocation and finding God’s will for that area of your life. I highly recommend it to all of my students every year.