Consider your dash, how will it be remembered when you’re gone

Lee Pound - Director of Alumni Association

Lee Pound – Director of Alumni Association

Have you ever gotten the e-mail that talks about “living your dash?” The story refers to a minister who spoke at a friend’s funeral. The minister talked about the friend’s dash – the line between the birth date and the death date.

In the story, the minister told the congregation that what mattered most was what fell in between those two dates. He was referring to the dash and the things that were accomplished by that individual within that time.

So, as a Missouri Southern student, faculty or staff member, how do you think you live your dash? What kind of mark do you plan to leave here on campus?

I look back on my four years as a student at Southern and wonder, “What type of dash did I leave?” There were so many friends made over the course of time — friendships that are now so near and dear. Memories of late nights either working on The Chart, or the Crossroads yearbook. Late nights spent eating pizza in The Chart office. Working on very tight deadlines.

The dash would include many hours in the Lion’s Den playing spades. Card games were the choice sport for passing time between classes. If spades became tiresome, our groups would change the tournament to a game of hearts. Either way, many dashes were represented via 52 cards, a coke and a burger.

My dash as a student also represents many hours in Spanish class, lowering my head and internally begging Dr. Ben Peterson, “Please don’t pick on me. I can’t conjugate this verb.” And then, trying my best to not be seen by him, he would eventually call on me.

One day, I realized after spending nearly an entire semester with my head dropped, “Hey, maybe if I don’t drop my head and act like I know the answer, I’ll have a better chance of not being asked to answer.” I also realized that keeping my head up also gave me more self-confidence in trying to conjugate that verb. That was the day my dash lengthened.

Coming back to Southern as an employee, my dash continues. It includes making many more new friends, helping to promote our University in the best possible light and working with alumni and students to help our campus and student life continue to grow.

So, as a student, how do you want your dash to be remembered? Will it be academically, or in the sports arena? Do you debate, either on the team or in the classroom? Do you challenge yourself, your instructors and your classmates? Or, do you drop your head and try not to be seen?

Today, when I see Dr. Peterson, who still teaches a few classes, I keep my head held high and greet him in Spanish. The conjugation after the basic greeting isn’t too great, but I know he appreciates the efforts.

So, don’t drop your head. Instead, think about your dash and how you want to make your mark while you’re here at Southern. And then, don’t forget to keep in touch with your professors and the Alumni Association. At Southern, we care about everyone’s dash.