DYSART: Imagine and act on a better future

Annie+Dysart+%28center%29+celebrates+National+Marquette+Day+with+friends+Feb.+8%2C+2020.

Annie Dysart (center) celebrates National Marquette Day with friends Feb. 8, 2020.

I roll over to silence the blare of my 8 a.m. alarm. There was too much on my mind to go back to sleep when I woke up, so I spent the last two hours typing a paper for my human geography class instead. I’m not one to stay in bed once my alarm goes off, but I don’t have class today. I haven’t had class for awhile now. 

With nowhere to go and no reason to get dressed, I tuck myself back in — content with my “morning chic” look composed of smudged glasses, a mop of disheveled hair and unbrushed teeth adorned with a metal retainer. I crane my neck, giving myself a few more chins than usual, to peer at a blue “Submit” button at the bottom left corner of my computer screen. 

My index finger hovers over the mouse-pad, hesitant to strike. I ponder the power wielded by this little blue button designed to dispatch my paper to the collective memory of the D2L Dropbox. At this ungodly hour, it symbolized so much more.  

In one click, my college career commenced for eternity. 

It was a peculiar end. Far from the end of my senior year I originally imagined. 

I imagined spending finals week suffering the consequences of my senioritis, pulling all-nighters on the first floor of Raynor as I crammed for exams and wrote papers I saved until the last minute. I imagined going to my last exams ever and hearing my professors say things like, “time’s up, put your pencils down,” or “have a great summer,” or “don’t hesitate to reach out.”

I imagined bursting out of the doors of Lalumiere after my last class to be greeted by a (stale) gust of Milwaukee air and an idyllic view of Central Mall, painted with a bright blue sky, tulips gently swaying in the breeze and a blanket of golden sunshine further illuminating students’ bright faces glowing with post-finals euphoria. 

I imagined a better ending to my story at Marquette.  

As an assistant editor at the opinions desk, I helped columnists transform their stories to be better than they were before. While reporters address what is, editors address what could be. 

Similar to how it was my job to imagine the best possible version of a story, I was caught up imagining what could have been the best possible end of my senior year. 

Our columnists often appealed to editors for assistance drafting effective conclusions to their stories. Oftentimes, we recommended closing with a call to action. The first mission of an opinions columnist is to present a specific point of view; their second mission is to persuade readers this view is worth acting upon. 

This semester did not go as expected. We had so much to look forward to. It’s okay to imagine alternative endings to our stories, as it’s part of processing what we’ve lost. However, it is futile to only imagine what could have been — that’s beyond our control. We need to act.

We must take a critical look at ourselves and imagine what could be according to actions we can take within the realm of our control. The future has and always will be uncertain. More uncertainty does not justify apathy nor despair. 

Our stories are what we make of them. Make today count and take action because the future is in your hands. Don’t let your story write itself.

This story was written by Annie Dysart. She can be reached at anne.dysart@marquette.edu.