As we approach the fifth anniversary of the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, I’m grateful for the new staff, new space, and new programs that we’ve assembled to benefit our students. In addition, we’ve launched new initiatives related to multiple facets of career services during this time. However, I’m most excited about how the addition of the word “Calling” into the name of our office drove us to fully embrace the Christian mission of Hope College.
Like all of our colleagues across the campus, our office looks to the mission of Hope College to keep us anchored. We are here to “educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and the context of the historic Christian faith.”
In addition, we seek to live into the Christian aspirations of the college, striving to be faithful, welcoming, and transformational. As a particular area of focus for us, the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career intentionally lives into the transformational ideal:
Scripture urges us to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God — what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). The whole Hope community is encouraged in a life-long commitment to grow in God’s grace and to pursue vocations through which the world so loved by God is renewed.
Many students come to hope with this as their desire – to discern God’s will for their lives and pursue a vocation that makes our world better. And for the past five years, we have been leaning into this with our messaging and programming. When it comes to helping students find their calling, we focus on three key steps.
1.) Understand that your highest calling is to build God’s kingdom, and you have a lot of freedom in choices for a career.
Our staff teaches a lesson on this topic in every First Year Seminar class. We emphasize that God doesn’t have one selected career path that he’s keeping a secret from us. Instead, we can find a life of purpose and fulfillment through multiple work tracks and activities that we don’t get paid to do.
2.) Use the unique gifts and talents God has given you.
All incoming first-year students complete the Clifton Strengths assessment, which reveals their top five personality traits – things they are naturally good at. Then, students explore those strengths in their First Year Seminar class and through 1:1 personalized appointments with staff members at the Boerigter Center. When students graduate and do things they are good at and interested in, their work becomes purposeful. In addition, they live out the Biblical direction for us to use our different gifts according to the grace given to each of us (Romans 12:4-8).
3.) Use your available resources to make career decisions.
When given the freedom to make career choices that tap into their talents and interests, many students may still be overwhelmed with multiple options. We offer additional career interest tools such as PathwayU for further research. Our alumni are eager to connect and provide advice through the Hope College Connection and our DiscoverWork job shadowing program. God never intended for us to make decisions alone. We enjoy working with students every day through the discernment process.
At the Boerigter Center, it’s truly a privilege to serve students during this important stage of life. Additionally, we frequently engage with alumni who find new passions and interests and explore a new career paths. We are excited to continue this work and do our part to contribute to the Christian mission of Hope College.
Shonn Colbrunn – Executive Director, Boerigter Center for Calling and Career
Watch our Faith and Calling Video Series for more information on how we talk about following God’s will for our lives.