Follow Your Calling
The Cooper Center: Vocations
What is Vocation?
Vocation is a challenging word to define and characterize. It is a rich term that connects to our spiritual and personal sense of identity and purpose, intersecting with multiple dimensions of life.
The word vocation derives from the Latin vocare, meaning “to call.” This implies that in vocation, someone – God – is doing the calling. How we live out our vocation is then a component of our worship – our joyful response to God for who He is and what He has done. It is also a response to specific ways that He has equipped, created and called us. While vocation includes our work and career paths, it also encompasses the way we approach faith, neighborhood, civics, family, and service. It is an overarching path where we participate in the Lord’s plan to bring redemption and shalom to the world.
Vocation at Trinity
We know that college is an important place for discovering and discerning your vocation. At Trinity, vocation is a term that you will hear often in classrooms, chapel, advising sessions, and residence hall conversations. In our Student Life Purposes and Outcomes we express that vocation should be a joyful response to God’s calling and hope that you experience that joy through your time here and leave as a graduate continuing on that path.
We believe that discerning one’s vocation requires engaging the heart, mind and soul. It involves intentional prayer, reflection as you encounter the Triune God, a sense of curiosity and openness to discovery, and a community of friends, family, faculty, staff and mentors who offer a listening ear and wise counsel.
Staff in the Cooper Center for Vocation and Career Development would love to meet with you to talk about your own vocation. Stop in or schedule appointment by logging in to Handshake and following links to Career Center > Appointments.
In the words of Faculty & Staff
“Along with the Psalmist (139), we praise God that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Typically, there are all kinds of things we can do. And the more we develop our native abilities and explore the range and depth of our skill capacities the greater the scope of our potential interactions in the world becomes. But what then should we actually do? This is where our understanding about our vocation becomes invaluable. Our vocation is both a guide and a guard. Our vocation keeps orienting us toward our “all in” ways of being in the world, while guarding us against engaging those things that we might well do, but would end up draining us of life, and life more abundant.” – Dr. Bill Van Groningen, Chaplain & Dean of Spiritual Formation=
“How vocation intersects with my work as a soccer coach is how I teach my team to give relentless effort, have a competitive attitude, and give uncommon preparation. Those skills are not only supposed to help us to be competitive on the field and have a great on the field experience, but it’s more to equip them for their vocation outside of soccer. I’m hopeful that when they get in to the real world and even in the classroom on a daily basis for them to be the best person they can be and fulfil their vocation to the best of their ability.” – Eric Salley, Men’s Soccer Coach
“When we talk with our students about vocation we try to think about it in a much bigger way than what they will do for a job. We try to think of everything they do in their lives as a part of their calling.” – Dr. Helen Van Wyck, Professor of Music
“It is with great intentionality that I focus on not only the content that I teach, but who it is that I teach it to, who they may become by answering God’s call on their life to become an educator, and the impact they will have in the lives of future students and colleagues. It is my strong desire that my students, both traditional and adult studies, most of whom are teacher candidates, recognize and believe that the Lord has called them to make an impact in the world through the education profession. Whether that be in a classroom with 32 students, behind the desk in a district office, or working one on one with a student with special needs, I always remind my students that the Lord will use them. He already knows where they will be placed, who they will be working with, and the influence they will have. Every child is precious to Him, and it is awesome that He chooses us teachers to speak into students’ lives, not only through academics, but through daily interactions. This is the foundation for preparing our teacher candidates for the classroom. This most often is done informally through personal conversations teachers have with students, the “hidden curriculum” that pops up constantly in a learning community, and the care for and love that is shown to each child.” – Dr. Kelly Lenarz, Coordinator of Adult Studies Special Education, Assistant Professor of Education