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First Year Seminar Reading Assignment

Dear Incoming First Year Student:

The Pepperdine Center for Faith and Learning provides a reading and journal assignment to all incoming first year students to help you focus on the question of vocation. By vocation, we do not mean "career." Rather, we mean "calling."

It is clear that many students come to the University asking precisely the wrong question. "How can I use my university education to make a lot of money, lead the good life, and essentially serve myself?" they ask. We are convinced that there is a very different question that students ought to be asking, and that is the question of vocation.

The question of vocation has several parts: Who and what has God called you to become? How can you discern that calling? What would you identify as your greatest gifts and talents? And how can you use those gifts on behalf of other human beings, especially those who have little compared to those of us who have so very much?

To help you focus on these questions, here is an assignment you should complete before you arrive on campus. Along with this letter is an article written by the former director of the Center for Faith and Learning, Dr. Gary Selby. Before you arrive on campus in a few weeks, you should read this article. It should not take you long to get this reading completed.

As soon as you have read the material, we want you to write a brief essay in which you reflect on your life and your aspirations in light of these readings- you may use the reflection questions at the end of the article as a guideline. You will submit this essay to your First Year seminar instructor when you arrive on campus in August. In this essay, you should allow these readings to inform your thinking about questions like these: What do I feel that God is calling me to do with my life? What do I view as my greatest gifts and talents? And how can I best employ those talents on behalf of other human beings?

Your First Year seminar instructor should collect these essays on the first day of class and lead the class in a discussion of the materials you have read. Your professor may also include some other readings in their syllabus on the theme of vocation.

We look forward to having you as a vital part of the Pepperdine community for the next four years. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Cupp via email or at (310) 506-4141. Welcome to Pepperdine!

You should not strive for any particular length. Just write what you need to write in order to address these issues fully and adequately, and in a way that is in sync with your own sense of self-understanding. This assignment will not be graded.