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Summer Edition
Volume 99, Number 1

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Fasten your seatbelt for this vocational journey:

Four teams of Messiah students win grants to hit the road and explore what life after college might look like

Students on vocational road trip

With the landscape of Zion National Park, Utah, in the background, Team Oregon Trail stopped at the Historic Pioneer Lodge to use the internet and get directions to Los Angeles, California. For these modern-day pioneers, the air-conditioned lodge was a welcome relief from the heat of southern Utah.

In their online journal, team Grads Without Borders writes that “life issues, whether big or small, are best dealt with by gaining perspective. Stepping back from a problem in order to see it differently can be an invaluable action. We have witnessed hospitality across the country, each time in a different way than the last.”

“There are no cookie-cutter life journeys,” says Grads Without Borders member Valerie Ong ’07, who served as the team’s public relations coordinator. “Each is unique and subject to change. This is both exciting and scary, especially since we’re not entirely sure where we’re headed right now.”

Joining Ong on team Grads Without Borders were Kelly Racer ’07, Faith Watts ’07, and Megan Wolf ’07. The four recent graduates spent almost three weeks on the road, with stops in places like the Badlands of South Dakota; Boulder, Colorado; and Nashville, Tennessee. Among their many adventures, Grads Without Borders successfully fried pancakes over an open fire at  Yellowstone National Park, battled mosquitoes in Michigan, and nearly crossed the Canadian border by mistake. Along the way, they conducted interviews with people like Shane Claiborne, founder of The Simple Way; Helen Ward, an immigrant from Zimbabwe; Ronald Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action; and Bud Dixon, a pastor and civil rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr.
in 1962.

“Perhaps what has most stood out to me has been the way that faith and vocation have connected in the lives of the people we interviewed,” says Wolfe. “In many of our interviews . . . we talked about [how] faith colors everything they look at and think about; how it gives them hope for the problems that they see while still acknowledging that those problems exist.”

In addition to seeing first-hand how faith and vocation can intersect, Hit the Road participants learned much about the professional world. Stephanie Thiesen ’09 says that her team, The Fab Four, learned about the importance of networking, gaining hands-on experience in a particular field, obtaining employable skill sets, and, most importantly, “making sure that you do something that you love.”

The Fab Four, which traveled throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, says that its experience was very rewarding. “We hope that our contribution will help other members of the Messiah community down the road in their vocational journeys and career development experiences, as it has helped us.”

Rebecca Buckham '05

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