Retreat gives St. Olaf sophomores opportunity to reflect on vocation

College Pastor Matt Marohl (right) delivers a keynote address titled “Knowing Who You Are” at this year’s Quo Vadis sophomore retreat.

For nearly seven years, St. Olaf College’s sophomore retreat, Quo Vadis, has guided students in their exploration of vocation as well as provided them time to reflect on where they are going.

Held at the YMCA Camp Ihduhapi near Loretto, Minnesota, Quo Vadis is a unique opportunity for St. Olaf sophomores to step away from campus and explore career paths, as well as listen to stories from older students, young alumni, and faculty and staff members. This year College Pastor Matt Marohl delivered a keynote address titled “Knowing Who You Are.”

“Attending this retreat was such an amazing way to spend a night off campus with a group of other sophomores,” says Katie Anderson ’20. “It was amazing to meet young alumni to hear about their lives beyond St. Olaf, and it was so important for me to have a set 24 hours to reflect on my experiences so far. I think the most important thing I learned was to follow my passions, and say ‘Why not?’ when new opportunities arise.”

Students also have a chance to discuss and reflect in small groups and participate in “Taking the Next Step” breakout sessions. These include finding internships, leadership, and research opportunities; making the most of the academic experience; and integrating self-care and meaningful relationships.

“I learned that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out,” Megan Hussey ’20 says. “My life will probably not be linear, and that’s okay. I am learning skills at a liberal arts college that can be applicable in almost every job, so my job doesn’t just have to reflect my major.”

More than 1,000 students have participated in one of the 12 Quo Vadis retreats that have been offered since the program began in 2011. This fall 75 students attended Quo Vadis — 61 sophomores and 14 student leaders.

“I learned how much of an impact such a short time can have on people’s lives. It was great for me as a leader, and it seemed to be really great for the participants,” Devin Ames ’19 says.

Quo Vadis was first started by Marija Crosson ’09 and is offered through the Piper Center for Vocation and Career to continue providing students with the opportunity to explore and reflect on their vocations.

“I learned that life isn’t necessarily a linear path. If a new opportunity arises, take advantage of it — you never know where it will take you,” Emily Baer ’20 says.