It struck me when she said, “your calling was never academics.” Charlotte Chase, who retired last year from her post here at Middlebury College’s Center for Campus Activities and Leadership (CCAL), knew me pretty well and last week I saw her after about nine months abroad. We were casually talking and I said, “academics are academics.” She knew precisely what I meant.
It’s not that I don’t care about my studies. I get a lot out of the classes here and the professors never fail to blow my mind. But I decided I will never be an academic. I’m not going to get a Ph.D. and become a professor. That isn’t my calling.
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about what the over-used word “community” actually means. I have been looking at it in two contexts. First, my mother informed that my K-8 school in San Francisco was an amazing community based on a set of “five goals” that are the pillars of the experience in all Schools of the Sacred Heart. My acappella group recently took a tour of Boston and while booking gigs, I contacted a The Newton Country Day School (NCDS), a School of the Sacred Heart in Newton, MA. On very short notice, their music director took our group in and helped us get a gig at an assembly time. It blows my mind how strong that Sacred Heart community network connection is.
Second and on the flip side, the President of Middlebury College Ronald Liebowitz has recently been engaging students in what he sees as a major problem on campus: students don’t care about one another. Well, as it turns the issue is very complex because the backstory involves an administrative concern about binge drinking at Middlebury. Further than that, with the death of Nicholas Garza last spring while I was abroad is freshly on the collective administrative mind. What kind of community allows friends to drink more than they should? The politics also way deep on this because of Prof. McCardell’s Amethyst Initiative which basically aims to bring the drinking age down to the age of 18. I am still developing my thoughts on what all this means for Middlebury and will continue to post on the issue over at MiddBlog.
And the issue of a “calling” is particularly timely as the pressure is on to find a job, graduate, and get the heck out of college. My Global Challenges class is forcing me to think more holistically about what my calling is. Am I a planner or a searcher? Do I think an ecologist or a clinician?