Reflecting on Vocation, First-year Students Produce StoryCorp-type Collection of Interviews
First-year students at Assumption College this fall started their college experience not only reading others’ stories, but also having the opportunity to produce their own. In conjunction with Assumption College’s new Center for Purpose and Vocation and the assistant vice president for academic affairs, the College created a project for first-year students to archive the stories of inspirational people in their lives, similar to StoryCorps.
“Assumption is on the brink of many exciting changes from the very recent opening of the Center for Purpose and Vocation, to the opening of the School of Nursing and the new Schools of Business, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies and Continuing Education,” shared Jenny Morrison, Ph.D., who oversees the first-year class as assistant vice president for academic affairs. “We were excited by the opportunity to have students participate in a StoryCorps-like project where they could interview family members and others who inspire them. We hope reading Callings and participating in these activities will help incoming first-year students begin their journey to find meaning and purpose in life and work.”
StoryCorps is a non-profit organization dedicated to gathering and archiving interviews of people’s stories “to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters.”
All first-year students entering Assumption this fall were required to read Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work, which was edited by StoryCorps founder David Isay. After reading Callings during the summer, they were then tasked with recording their own interview with someone they admire and believe to have an interesting job or calling. The interviews focused on how the chosen individual discovered a “calling” through employment, community service, a specific talent (i.e. music, art, dance), etc. In addition to conducting a seven- to 10-minute interview, students were asked to produce written summaries of the interviews; both the summary and audio interview were then submitted to Morrison. At the fall orientation, first-year students shared their interviews with each other and voted on the best, most compelling interviews for inclusion in “First Callings,” which will be featured on the Assumption website and shared in emails to friends of the College and among the campus community. The winners also received a gift card.
“The impetus for this assignment was the selection of Callings as required reading for members of the Class of 2023,” added Morrison. “Callings distinguishes itself particularly in its accessibility, its relevance to this moment in the lives of new college students, and the opportunities for developing co-curricular applications and events. It is powerful in capturing so many different voices, and in showing us that there are many ways to find meaning and purpose in how we live and what we do.”
The Center for Purpose and Vocation advances institutional efforts to build a dynamic and inclusive culture of vocational engagement at the College and encourage students to explore their passions and how their chosen vocations can benefit the world in which they live.
To listen to stories from “First Callings,” visit The First Callings Project.
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