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Aaron Witherspoon - Humans of UD

Aaron Witherspoon, Director of Advising Initiatives at the University of Dayton, is a member of the First Year Experience Cohort on the Vocation Implementation Team.  Witherspoon, who started his work as director in Fall 2019, trains  academic advisors to ask vocation-based questions and have conversations with students that go beyond graduation requirements.  Thanks to his efforts, more advisors are now asking students to reflect on their learning experiences and how their unique gifts align with their passions. . Because of Witherspoon, the advisors at UD  are getting to know their students and helping them along their career path beyond graduation. 

Too often, students focus on their degree requirements rather than exploring their interests. Thus Witherspoon encourages incoming first-year students to be open minded and take at least one class in their first year that they are just “purely interested in.”  He says “if you don’t have a major, that is ok - just take time to explore” and students can do this by choosing classes that they want to take not just what they are required to take. 

Witherspoon also advises students who are nearing graduation or who have recently graduated, to remember that their vocation can change. He says “what you are doing now is excellent but down the road if you feel a different calling, that is ok.” It can be intimidating but following your vocation will pay off in the long run. UD provides an education that is “very versatile” so our students have “the ability to choose [their] own path.” Therefore, he urges upperclass students and recent graduates to “have the nerve to step out and do something brave and adventurous.” 

So, no matter what a student’s future may hold, Witherspoon speaks on behalf of UD  staff when he says “we want you to graduate and do well but we want you to be doing what you want to do.” With a university that weaves vocation into every aspect of its education, students are well equipped to do what they are meant to do and, more importantly, they are equipped with the tools and knowledge to find just what their calling is.

For more information about Aaron’s office or the Vocation Implementation Team please explore our website

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