Words of Praise

Laura Pierce, Student '07

The Center for Vocational Reflection has been an integral part of my Gustavus experience since my freshmen year, when I enrolled in a J-term class called, "Changing the World". I think a more appropriate title for that class would have been, "Changing Perspectives," because it was really my first glance at what would soon come to shape my next three and a half years at Gustavus. Through mentorship with Chris and the CVR, I was encouraged to ask questions of myself that I never knew were possible, and encountered answers that I did not know I was capable of. I was challenged to look at the world in new ways- to entertain ideas of simplicity and solidarity and seriously consider, for the first time, what the impact of my presence might be in the world. I learned how to listen deeply- to ask questions of myself and of others, and to never be afraid to ask what is really lying underneath.

The CVR continues to be a presence in my life- its couches always a safe place to talk and struggle and laugh- to relax and just be for a little while. I have discovered new favorite authors on their bookshelves and received an innumerable amount of resources. The countless workshops, speakers, and healthy spaces that they have created on this campus have enriched my college experience, helping me to practice mindfulness and find balance. In February of 2006, the CVR was primarily responsible for sending three other Gusties and me to the World Council of Churches 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brasil, where we participated in plenaries, workshops, conversations, and panel discussions on ecumenical and international development issues. The theme of the conference was "God, In Your Grace, Transform the World," and topics ranged from poverty and economic injustice, globalization, gender stereotypes and HIV/AIDS to human rights, sustainable development, wider ecumenism and religious plurality. One speaker we listened to had some encouraging words of wisdom: "Find your vision and hold on to it tightly, but let it be your vision."

The most valuable thing I have learned during my time at Gustavus Adolphus College is that I am free to seek out my calling, to plug into it and then go where it takes me. I did not always know this, but since I have found it, my life has been filled with meaning and struggle and passion in a way that I never knew was possible. If only in that one way, I hope to change just a little bit of the world. As I begin to seek out opportunities for my future, the CVR continues to be a guiding resource of support and discernment. For all of this and more, thank you, CVR.