Genuine duties support each other. We might put it into vocational language by saying that genuine callings support each other. Our families can motivate and support our educations; our educations can enrich and support our families.
Victor Frankenstein is the most irritating protagonist I’ve ever met. Yet I love teaching Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein and exploring the questions it raises, questions not only of what Victor creates but the process by which he creates it. Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein is no doctor, but a college student who deals with a predictable college student issue: keeping in touch with home. As he fails to visit or even write to his family, he remembers his father’s words: “I know that while you are pleased with yourself, you will think of us with affection and we shall hear regularly from you. You must pardon me if I regard any interruption in your correspondence as a proof that your other duties are equally neglected.”
“Is his father right?” I ask my students. Is failing to write really a sign that he’s neglecting his other duties? His work is what’s keeping him from writing. Isn’t his research also a duty, deserving focus? Is it even possible to do his kind of work and do other things, like keeping up his family relationships, at the same time?
If Carnegie units of academic time are fundamental to defining a baccalaureate degree, then how can we make them work for us and for our students?
The Carnegie hour is a unit of time that standardizes academic study across institutions. Established in 1906 as means to calculate retirement hours earned, Carnegie hours are now often required on syllabi. This way, students (and accreditation agencies) know how many “instructor-led” class hours to expect and how many “independent student learning” homework hours to schedule.
Paul shares his excitement for working with undergraduates, especially beginning students: “they have hope,” he says, and in their first year of college, we often see their important “shift from lack of agency to agency.”
As students gain clarity about their vocational choice(s), we must create a longitudinal path that provides opportunities for students to revisit vocational discernment throughout their college experience.
A series of posts about a collaborative project at the University of Dayton to develop courses, programs, and opportunities for undergraduate vocational discernment in the health professions, including a first-year course, “Discover Health and Medicine.”
I am always amused when I’m asked if I work in the field in which I earned my undergraduate degree. The answer is no, and in fact, I go out of my way to explain to students my meandering path to my current vocation. When I reflect upon my experiences, I accept that had I made different choices as an undergraduate, my path may have been straighter and more efficient, but I would not be the same person that I am today.
In my initial blog post in January, I shared my colleagues’ and my plan to develop a Discover Health & Medicine track for students who express interest in a career in the health professions but had not been initially accepted into a traditional pre-health major. Our two-semester, first-year class will incorporate an intentionally extended vocational exploration and discernment process. For those students who are interested in exploring a vocation in the health professions, this class will teach the skills of discernment and provide tools and resources to use in setting goals.
Listening for a vocation suggests hearing a call to somewhere else, to something not yet present. This post will discuss attention to the present as key to discerning that future vocation.
“Live in the present moment as if there were nothing to expect beyond it.” When I first encountered Jean-Pierre de Caussade’s Abandonment to Divine Providence and his relentless insistence on attention to the present, I thought him quite impractical; as teacher and parent, I always had to consider the future. Then COVID hit. As cherished plans crumpled and the future became a blank, de Caussade’s words became as practical as sanity: This moment is the only moment we have.