A love letter to vocation and homemade brownies


I’m sure many of you saw the emails advertising the 活着的程序 filter through your inbox. 如果你和我一样的话, you may have given it a quick glance before trashing it, or maybe you just deleted it straight away. 然而, a program I initially wrote off ended up being one of the most consistent sources of comfort in my life during my sophomore year.

I had the privilege of being one of the guinea pigs for the 活着的程序 在奥古斯塔纳. This program was built to bring together a group of sophomores in Swanson Commons during a year typically filled with the chaos of reevaluating classes, 专业, 以及整个人生计划. As members of the 活着的程序, the other guinea pigs and I lived on the same floor of Swanson (for the less expensive cost of Erickson!), met once a week on Sunday nights, and were tasked with exploring our own vocations and eventually helping facilitate that exploration for others. I initially thought that a program built for reflection and vocational exploration didn’t sound particularly exciting, especially not to an overworked college student who barely had time to sleep.

It turns out that I was right - 这个项目并不令人兴奋. And I found that this lack of excitement, this sense of regularity and normalcy, 正是我所需要的. 从篝火在Dr. Mahn’s house to homemade brownies in Dr. 克劳奇的公寓, the 活着的程序’s weekly meetings forced me to take an hour or two once a week to just sit, 呼吸, 和反映.

College students are pressured to always be productive. We have to constantly run around doing homework, 通宵达旦地加班加点, 聚会, 与人见面, 参与其中. It’s so easy to let this constant stream of activity become so normalized that we don’t know how to truly rest 和反映 anymore. Even as a liberal arts school that requires students to take a variety of classes, Augustana falls into this trap of hyper-productive surface level exploration rather than genuine reflection. How can students possibly have the time to figure out their passions 和动机 when they barely have time to sleep?

That’s where the 活着的程序 comes in. What seems at first to just be another club that looks good on a resume, this program actually works at addressing this vocational issue. The entire first semester was dedicated to coming together as a group and discussing each other’s lives, 利益, 和动机. 通过创建这样一个可靠的, warm space set aside for the kind of mindful rest needed for genuine reflection, the 活着的程序 has helped me to reevaluate my entire life plan and learn more about my own motivations in a non-judgemental setting.

Second semester moved towards encouraging that exploration in others through the creation of individual programs, designed and run by smaller groups of ALIVE members. While this semester was intended to help others explore their own vocation, it also had the added benefit of informing me of my own - I learned that I absolutely do not want to become an event planner. 撇开紧张的计划不谈, this semester has given me the chance to interact with entirely new groups of students and faculty and get involved in a truly meaningful way on campus.

I’d like to avoid the stereotypical declaration that the friendships that I’ve made here will last me for the rest of my life, 但这是真的. These people have seen me on the verge of tears, have witnessed me devour four s’mores in a half hour period, and have sat on the floor of the hallway, keeping me company while I folded laundry. We’ve traded outfits and made pancakes and read books and played games. And while I’m looking forward to living in an actual apartment next year, I’ll miss the Sunday nights filled with reflection and the smell of homemade brownies.

The 活着的程序 is open specifically for sophomore students to explore their place in the world, develop close relationships with faculty and ALIVE student fellows, and get to live in Swanson at the price of a standard double room. 如需更多信息,请联系 克里低音 at 309-794-8613.


Amanda is currently a sophomore majoring in Art History, 工程物理, 及环境研究. She's also involved in the orchestra as a cellist, is the vice president of the Augustana Physics and Engineering Society, holds a position in Sigma Pi Delta, am a member of the 活着的程序, and a member of the APS Idea mentoring program.