God does not always make His will obvious before high school graduation. College students might feel a continuation of a call they felt earlier in their lives, and other times it can be a sudden realization. It is a tug on the heart that just won’t go away.
Many college students have had this experience. They might have considered a religious vocation earlier in life, but the idea was thrown out when it came time to choose a career. Faced with so many options, some choose to go to college with dreams of money and personal ambition, or simply because they didn’t know what they truly wanted to do. For some, this path begins to lose its appeal over time. They find this life shallow and unsatisfying, and the call to a religious vocation resurfaces.
If you are a college student and the idea of a priestly vocation has returned, gotten stronger, or just recently revealed itself to you, this could very well be a sign that God is truly calling you. So how do you answer?
Go to Mass frequently, perhaps even daily. Receive reconciliation at least monthly. Begin to talk with your priest or another pastoral mentor for guidance. They may know someone who has been in a similar situation, or even been through it themselves. Visit a seminary college and meet students there. Remember, seminarians, priests, and other ministers are people, too. They might understand your situation better than you’d ever know, and would be happy to help you hear God’s call.
Ask yourself how many times you have had to justify your chosen path to those supporting you. They challenge you to lead a productive life, but so does God. He gives you life and challenges you to live in love and service to Him and to others. How you do so is up to you. What clues has God given you to decide the path to fulfillment? Your gifts and talents, the advice of friends and family (or even strangers), and, of course, prayer can all serve as signposts along your road.
If you suspect that you might be called to religious life, there are things you can do that might clarify your vision. Prayer is essential to your search for God’s call. Both your parish and college probably have opportunities to volunteer, serve, or even minister through various organizations. Joining or increasing your involvement with these groups may help you live a life in accordance with what God has planned for you.