What is Vocation?

The words vocation and voice share the same Latin root. Our vocation is, then, a symbolic of “voice” our lives, helping us to relate to the world. Exploring vocation is about figuring out what you’re meant to do. Usually, this means things that you’re good at and have a passion for. It’s something you can’t not do. Our vocation relates to our careers, our relationships with family and friends, our participation in community, and our relationship to the environment. It accounts for who we are and gives us a way to think about who we are called to be.

In Luther’s time, only those called to religious life were said to have a vocation. One of Luther’s great contributions was the insight that every person has a vocation—a calling and capacity to use their life in service through work in the world. No occupation is left out. Our task in life is to discover this calling through exploration and attentiveness. We know we have found our vocation when our work seems truly meaningful and fulfilling—when we can’t imagine doing anything else.

Vocation at PLU

At PLU, vocational exploration occurs in many places and through many activities across campus. From programs like the Explore! retreat for first-year students to the Meant to Live activities at homecoming, from study seminars for faculty to workshops for alumni, vocation is deeply woven into the communal fabric of the university. This is a hallmark of a PLU education. The Center for Vocation empowers students to consider: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”