As I write this blog post, the COVID vaccine and its distribution (and implications) are dominating the conversation. COVID has become so integrated into our lives that it’s strange to think that the vaccine is already here. According to most recent articles, President Biden has moved the timeline up so that the US will have “enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May,” (Wise 2021).
COVID has dictated life for the past 12 months. It cut short my college career and led to an impotent farewell to Baton Rouge, the place that I called home for five years. Even now, after living in Springfield for almost nine months, I’m not sure if I can say that I’m more than superficially familiar with the city. Every few weeks brings a bittersweet pang when I realize that I’ll never walk for my undergraduate graduation—but that point is already months behind me.
It’s hard to accept, but this pandemic has taken an entire year (and perhaps more) and turned it into something strange. It’s taken one of the most difficult periods of my life, graduate school, and compounded it with isolation and anxiety. It’s easy to try to spin it into a learning moment. At least I’ve gotten to get to know me, figure out who I am in a new place. It’s true, but it’s cliché and who’s to say that it wouldn’t have been just as well otherwise?
All I can do is manage what I can control and pay attention to the news (but not let it overtake me). In less than a week, my community’s hall council will be putting on our signature event with Hutchens’ Hall Council. These students have shown me resilience. Not through a steely defiance, but instead in the way that they remain authentically themselves in spite of it all.
Pandemic or not, this is their first year in college. Homework, presentation, quarantining, invasive nose swabs, it’s just another week for them. This time is so starkly different from the college I’ve known, but it will be the basis for the rest of their career. As a rising student affairs professional, I have to make it work because they make it work. COVID didn’t wait on any of us to catch up and I can’t let my students leave me behind.
(Harry Riel, Assistant Hall Director; Hall Council Advisor | Hammons House; Student Affairs Graduate Association Cohort 14 Co-Liaison, Residence Life, Housing and Dining Services; Practicum Student for Family Programs & Student Affairs Special Events. )
Wise, A. (2021, March 02). Biden says U.S. will have vaccine supply for all adults By May, Prioritizes Teachers. Retrieved March 03, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/02/973030394/biden-says-u-s-will-have-vaccine-supply-for-all-adults-by-may-prioritizes-teache