By Greg Jones
Universities are more than hubs of knowledge and research; they are crucibles where dreams and identities take shape. In an era where people seek deeper meaning and purpose in their studies, work and lives, students are uniquely positioned to embark on this profound journey fully as they enter college.
A recent survey conducted by Student Voice among 3,000 college students underscored the importance of purpose as a central theme in their educational experiences. It has become evident that students yearn for direction and meaning in their academic journey, a sentiment we wholeheartedly embrace at Belmont. We are dedicated to nurturing people who possess purpose, character, wisdom and a transformative mindset—leaders who are eager to contribute to a better world.
What’s Your Why?
Belmont recognizes that not every student arrives with a clear sense of purpose. We offer numerous avenues for students to explore and discover their passions, from Well-Core events to on-campus opportunities. Our GPS office and Career Services are readily available to guide students on their journey of self-discovery.
In fact, each new Belmont student is asked a singular question: “What’s your why?”
This question (explored in a course of the same name taught by faculty from across the University and hosted by my wife, the Rev. Susan Pendleton Jones and myself) starts them on a path of exploration within five purpose areas, enabling them to discover their unique calling and passions.
These purpose areas include:
These people are driven by a shared interest in actively engaging with their communities through teaching, healing and providing assistance, and they possess interpersonal abilities to nurture the growth and well-being of others.
Their passion lies in inspiring hope through the creation of beauty and imaginative design, underpinned by an artistic skill set that allows them to imbue their work with profound meaning.
Their mutual drive revolves around cultivating dignified work that contributes to improving the world, and they possess organizational skills and a keen understanding of systems thinking, enabling them to craft meaningful endeavors.
Their passion centers on fostering communication and connection with humility and civility, aiming to build bridges, and they collectively possess communication skills that convey truthful narratives in impactful and resonant ways.
Their interests and motivations revolve around gaining a deep understanding of the world to actively shape the future, supported by analytical abilities to critically examine both our natural and social environments.
Our What’s Your Why? course focuses on clarifying students’ sense of purpose in the world and developing a more holistic view of their trajectory. These purpose areas serve as guideposts on the road to self-discovery and personal growth, equipping students with the tools and resources needed to unearth their true selves and connect with a deeper sense of purpose.
Ultimately, What’s Your Why? is more than a catchy phrase. a question that guides our students as they discern their vocation and career path. Students at Belmont explore the importance of developing purpose by keeping questions of God and faith at the heart of their decision-making process.
This principle holds true for all of us, regardless of our specific roles or jobs. It’s not just about what we do; it’s about what we bring to the table and how our contributions enrich a collective mission. By anchoring our choices in something larger than ourselves, we can find direction and meaning in our work, no matter what major or career we choose. By discovering our “why,” we’ll set ourselves up for a lifetime of flourishing.
Each of the purpose areas includes an avenue for giving back and making a difference in the world. It’s about helping others, bringing order to chaos, comforting others in a time of need, lending a hand and solving complex problems.