By: Greg Konkle, Junior
Everyone has difficulty in finding who they are who they want to be. The first step at finding who you are called to be is finding your gifts. This is not a suggestion. It is your responsibility to find your gifts and your calling. Sometimes people fall into the trap of thinking that this is based only on things that they are good at. I used to be good at soccer, I have always had interest in sports. But even though I really like sports, and I used to be an above average soccer player, I never considered that as a plausible career; even as a child. So how do we find the gifts that we have that will lead us to our calling, our vocations?
This is not a question that can be answered with a list of steps to follow in order. No one is going to arrive at their vocation in the same exact way as anyone else, but it is helpful to look at other people’s lives so that through their example, others may gain insight and have hope that it is possible.
As I grew up, I never really knew what I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do. I thought it would be nice to have a family someday, but it would also be cool to live in religious life. Elementary and High school was a breeze, so I was certainly not being held back from anything because of a lack of academic prowess. All I knew is that I wanted to make a difference. Was that through being a fireman –saving people’s lives from unfortunate events? A lawyer—fighting for people’s rights in the face of injustice? A Doctor—saving people from illness and injury? A Teacher—helping form youth to be well-rounded people? I had no clue coming out of high school what I wanted to be, and I had been praying about this more than anything else—to find direction somehow. I didn't hear the voice of God come down and command me, so I talked to my friends and family about what I should do. They start naming every profession they can think of, to which my response was almost exclusively a “maybe.” I really didn't know! I could be great at anything if I really set my mind to it. So I decided to look at the things that I was good at, and interested in. So the list of possibilities began to get smaller and smaller, and through a process of elimination, I chose Economics and Political Science, with the possibility of law school in the back of my mind, and a hopeful eye towards political positions. I went through my freshman year taking economics and political science classes, and they were interesting and I was good at them. But even through all of this, there was something that was just not right. I couldn't tell exactly what it was, and I still don’t know, but I just had the feeling that this wasn't what I was being called to. But I was doing well, and I didn't want to switch, since there’s a certain security in being part of something you’re good at, and I didn't know what I was going to switch to!
The end of Freshman year came around, and Summer began. I still had the idea that Economics and Political science were not my true vocation, but more of an interest. Being bored and having free time, I began to take apart old machines we had around the house—watches, remotes, etc. just to see how they were put together. I didn't know how they worked and I wanted to learn more. Then our lawn mower broke, and I decided to take the motor apart and put it back together, and it worked! I had this working motor now (we had already bought a new lawn mower) and I didn't want it to go to waste. So I thought of all the things I could do with it, and decided I was going to build a mini bike with it. I found all the specifications for the motor and calculated out all the gear ratios in order to achieve a functioning and decently fast mini bike—I found that it was possible! So I welded a whole frame together from pieces of metal I found, mounted the motor, found some wheels at a neighbors I could use, and was happily working on that during the free time I had at night. I dreamed about all the things I could do to make this the coolest mini bike ever. I was not able to finish the bike that summer, and I have not been home for long enough periods of time to get work done on it (as well as gears costing much more than expected), but it was the best learning experience I had in my life. I found something completely unexpected that I loved doing. I would never had thought that building engines and bikes would be something fun to me—not only fun but fulfilling. I prayed more and more about it and felt much more at peace changing my major to mechanical engineering. My dream is to design, build, and implement alternative energy machines; and I keep that goal in sight in all of my studies and before I fall asleep every night.
The most important thing I feel about discovering my gifts and my vocation is the sense of peace and confidence I have with my position. I am excited for the future, and excited to learn more and more that which will help me create machines that change people’s lives for the better, improve their lives, or save the planet we seem so keen on destroying. For me, the key was praying, opening up and talking to friends and family about it, praying, keeping my mind open, praying, and trying out new possibilities. I was finally able to find something that I was interested in and open to see as my vocation; I hope that everyone here also has an experience that will lead them to finding their path in life.