Just around the corner in that hospital auditorium was my way to contribute to the solution to the challenge we are all living in right now: my COVID-19 vaccine.
I’m a senior who, like many others, has spent the last 10 months in a global pandemic watching things get canceled one by one. First, it was the rest of my junior year, then, senior year golf season, homecoming, and football season.
Despite all of those losses, I’ve spent the whole time looking to the future. Wearing a mask, being mindful of my social choices, and listening to medical professionals have been my main strategies for playing a part in ending the pandemic rather than prolonging it.
Both of my parents work in healthcare so when they got the vaccine, it was a glimmer of hope in our family and made me feel better about there being an end to the virus’ seemingly endless destruction of life and society. So when I got wind of the opportunity to receive the vaccine due to my status as a hospital volunteer, I was all in.
I finally got an appointment and waited in line, clutching my hospital badge amidst the over-65 crowd shooting me dirty looks for just being there.
Arrows on the floor, dots to stand on, and distanced chairs were constant reminders that we are still living in a raging pandemic but the line down the hall to get into the auditorium served as encouragement that we could band together and stop the virus forever.
I checked in for my appointment, filled out paperwork, and headed into the auditorium for my vaccine. Even though everyone was wearing masks, every person I walked past smiled at me and there was a common feeling in the room of hope and excitement.
After receiving the injection I was observed socially distant with a bunch of other people for 15 minutes to ensure I didn’t have any adverse reactions. During that time, I talked with an elderly couple who spend their retirement days helping at food banks for the homeless and who expressed their excitement at being able to return to volunteering, much like myself.
I feel extremely privileged to have been able to receive the vaccine and I would encourage others who are able to do so when it is widely available as well and to continue wearing a mask and staying mindful for the sake of those who can’t get the vaccine. I have so much hope that this is the beginning of a return to all of the things we will never take for granted again.