Words of Praise

Javen Swanson, Alumni '06

My understanding of vocation grew tremendously during my senior year at Gustavus as a result of my involvement in a number of opportunities provided by the Center for Vocational Reflection. Both as a peer mentor in the Servant-Leadership Program and as an intern in the CVR, I was led to a variety of discoveries about myself that continue to shape the course of my life.

When I began my internship and people started asking me, "What exactly does the CVR do anyway?", I realized that I didn't have a clear answer to these questions myself. Throughout my time as an intern I have wrestled with the concept of vocation and its close relative discernment. My struggle to understand what vocation is all about could not have come at a more convenient time. Just as I was learning that vocation entails an understanding of senses of purpose that influence how we choose to live our lives, the fact that I was beginning my last year at Gustavus and needed to start making plans for the future was starting to sink in. I recognized that intentionally reflecting on my vocations- engaging in discernment- would help me to make wiser decisions about my future as I sought to determine what is really important to me.

With this in mind, I spent a great deal of time thinking about how my gifts and passions could best be put to use. Through the CVR's Servant Leadership Program I was encouraged to explore my core values, the values that most significantly influence my actions. This examination of what is really important to me has informed and clarified my personal senses of vocation and has led me to Yale Divinity School, the next stop on my vocational journey.