I was initially drawn to study Computer Science out of a general interest in understanding how things work. As I progressed, I learned of the wonderful ways in which the field could help me to solve practical problems. My interest in my other major, Spanish, stemmed from a need to connect to and understand more people of the world. After graduating from St. Norbert College, I knew that I wanted to help others and give back and so I found myself as part of the debut year of the Norbertine Volunteer Community (NVC). In the NVC, I needed to use all of my talents to serve the Golden House and Family and Childcare Resources of NEW.
Even though most of my work at these agencies did not directly involve the clients, I felt I was contributing to the greater good because the work that I was doing helped these agencies do their work better, and their work is directly tied with the greater good. As I served the poor of Green Bay during my time in the Norbertine Volunteer Community, I became a more caring person who is interested in the lives of others in the community because I saw aspects of our community with new eyes. I have become an advocate for a new group of people and am able to answer questions and participate in discussions on what many consider a very difficult topic.
When we speak of a “vocation,” we speak of something broader and more significant than a job. A vocation is really a way of life that you are called to. The Norbertine Volunteer Community is necessarily a vocation because it is something that you are called to and it is more than a job. It requires a certain attitude and mindset. Someone who is just looking for a typical 9-5 job with a typical 9-5 boss will not be happy in the volunteer community because that is not what the community offers. It is not “work some hours, go home, and collect a paycheck” but rather “be flexible enough to serve in a variety of ways and hope that you made a difference.” There is no paycheck; appreciation is a welcome substitute, but should not be taken for granted. It is a way of life because it does not fit into the confines of a job and demands more than a job would. If you are not willing to commit to community-living by participating in shared prayer and table and by working things out, then you will not succeed. It can be a lot of effort, yes, but the reward is great: a group of people who care for and support each other. When things fall into place, it is really is a full way of life; it is a vocation.
The story does not end with my time in the NVC; I now work for St. Norbert College. While it is true that I am no longer out serving the poor in such a direct way, I feel that I am still contributing to the greater good. St. Norbert College is an institution that creates people who can bring about positive change in the world. Therefore, by supporting the people of St. Norbert College, I am, in fact contributing to the greater good. I furthermore, continue to live simply, remembering that what I have is mine to share.
Francis Beaumier '09