How Do You Make Decisions?

I just returned from the Collegeville Institute in Minnesota where we discussed “vocation” in reference to college students. We’re not merely, talking about religious vocations to the priesthood, religious life or ministry fields. Instead we are talking about a common vocational call, or an awareness of that discerning voice within all of ourselves.

We discussed the issues that face college students and a thought came to us. How DO college students make decisions? Is there a person or institution they turn to first when it comes to making a life decision? Such questions could include: Where should I work? Does this job sound good to you? How can I develop skills and be more in touch with my own gifts and desires? Is there a place you go to sort things out and try to gain clarity? Each one of these questions carries much weight in making life’s decisions. So what do you do?

I’d like to start a discussion on this and carry it out over the course of this week. Asking different kinds of vocational questions, especially of those of you who are presently on campus: studying and ministering to those who do study. What do you experience?

Many have weighed in on this on facebook already so I place their posts below.

Join the Conversation

42 Comments

  1. Via Facebook:

    From Mike Rodak

    I ask others for advice…but ultimately its my decision,,,my responsibility.(but if i ask someone i take that advise seriously cuz “I asked”.

    Like

  2. Via Facebok:

    From Erica Gamerro

    If it’s a very serious/important decision, I often turn to trusted priests, sisters, and friends who are much older than me but it really depends on the situation. I definitely feel more comfortable talking with someone older though. I feel that their life experience is invaluable.

    Like

  3. Via Facebook

    From Amanda Blum

    Because she’s just like me. Haha. Our personalities are very similar but she’s had a lot more experience dealing with problems than I’ve had.

    Like

  4. Via Facebook

    From Maggie Stahl

    First call is to my best friend – she knows me better than I do, and she asks the right questions and won’t hold back her honest opinion (though she always gives it in the nicest way possible!). Usually then I talk with the boyfriend…’cause he’s here and I see him the most. And, if it pertains to anything involving money, loans, cars, leases and the like, it’s the parents who get the call — they have the most experience with all that jazz.

    Like

  5. Via Facebook

    From Mike Rodak:

    it depends on the question Mike,,,,sometimes its co-workers who r friends……sometimes its a friend or two outside of work…sometimes its a cousin or two….but really mostly its jus me.

    Like

  6. Via Facebook

    From Hope Villella:

    I ask one of my former bosses (who is now a close friend) because experience has shown me that he is 1- level-headed 2- moral 3- non-judgmental 4- wants me to make the best decision for who I am, not what he thinks I should be…. 5- wise (thinks with his head and heart).

    Like

  7. VIa Facebook

    From Maggie Stahl

    While I wouldn’t be inclined to ask for advice from someone I don’t trust, I don’t think trust is what determines who I go to for advice…that is, of those I trust, i don’t go to the person with the highest degree of trust for advice first.

    i think its more a question of the quality of advice i think I’m going to receive. My bestie knows *how* to give me advice in a way that it will make sense to me, and in a way that won’t put me off immediately. I know that usually I need to talk things out/vent before I’m able to receive criticism, and certain people (such as the parents) don’t always listen in the way that I need, so I know from the get-go seeking advice from them will end in frustration. The boyfriend just doesn’t like to say too much either way, lest he say the wrong thing =). does that make sense?

    Like

  8. Via Facebook:

    From Mike Rodak:

    Mike im 39,,,if I were to change careers it would have to be something extraordinary….but if that were the case it would have to be someone who is established in what they do and who r qualified to give such advice….

    Like

  9. Via Facebook

    from Paul Snatchko:

    I’d call Mike Hayes! (or Marion for dating advice)

    (BTW, are you doing research for a new book or are you having a crisis?)

    Editor’s note: I can confirm that Mr Snatchko has sought my counsel on things (the poor guy!)

    Like

  10. Via Facebook

    From John Greenlee:

    I always run things by my best friend who’s like my brother. We’ve been friends since 1st grade but lost touch when I went to Fordham. We reconnected about 10 years ago when I moved back to my home town. He’s the sounding board for most major decisions in my life. I also ask God for His guidance.

    Like

  11. Via Facebook:

    From Beth Knobbe

    I have a list that I refer to as my personal advisory board. It includes my sister, a long-time mentor, my spiritual director, one of my best friends, … and Jesus πŸ™‚

    Like

  12. Via Facebook:

    From Aarti Rego-Pereira:

    A priest who is my spiritual director (in Mumbai), my best friend, my husband and campus minister (in Buffalo) are the people I go to.

    Like

  13. Paul…I’m in a think tank and this came up so we wanted instant results! πŸ™‚

    Aarti, do you think students would participate in a formal discernment conversation at St Joe’s called “What am I going to do with my life?”. Or “How Am I to Live?” something like that!

    Amy…what allowed you to seek out the office for that purpose?

    Like

  14. Via Facebook:

    From Aarti Rego-Pereira:

    Mike, I think thats a good idea. But I think it needs to be more specific in terms of “Should I be a doctor or should be an engineer or maybe a teacher” versus “Am i called to religious life or married life” or even something like “Do good to those who hate you as an example for how am i to live.

    Like

  15. Via Facebook

    From Amy Smith Delamer

    I guess the relationships that developed out of professional/ministerial connections. My family is not Catholic, so I started looking for people who could/would ask questions, give suggestions, help with the discernment process, etc. who also understood the faith dimensions, and I’ve been blessed by people who have been willing to share the journey.

    Like

  16. Via Facebook

    from Connie Lane Neuman

    The job that became untenable…New Year’s weekend coming up, all my friends out of town…ask Jim at the Bradley Deli, philosopher and psychologist? Ahhh, no. Knocked on neighbor Beth’s door: We don’t know each other too well, but could we talk? / OF COURSE the Lord, OF COURSE we need to make our own decisions, but people can help in talking/ thinking things thru…thanks, Beth.

    Like

  17. Via Facebook

    from Melissa Cidade:

    I would ask the sociologist I keep on retainer. She usually has good data that helps me make an informed decision.

    Like

  18. Via Facebook:

    From Susan Magan Karpovich:

    pray about it, then to my husband, my small faith sharing group, friends mostly…depends on what it is.

    Like

  19. Via Facebook

    from Maria Guzman

    I usually pray for guidance and discernment. Not always easy to understand it. I look for signs, I talk it out with him, sometimes I try to make deals. We all know God doesn’t gamble so that doesn’t always work. At the end, I follow my conscience and do what I know in my heart is the right thing to do.

    Like

  20. Wow. This might be a good blog post for me later, but I’d definitely say there was a discernment when I was thinking about going into composition.

    Like

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