Once it happened, it happened quickly. I rolled up my sleeve, felt a slight poke, and it was done. I received my first COVID-19 vaccine. Unexpectedly, tears came to my eyes. Not because it hurt, but because of an overwhelming sense of joy and hope. Thanks to science, research, manufacturing, organizing and so many people dedicated to vaccinating the public, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I am not going to die of COVID-19.
Before it happened, even though I was taking all the right precautions, that scary thought was always itching somewhere in the back of my brain. Would my heart condition make it more likely? So many tragic deaths were happening, would I end up one?
During those early months, I wondered how long it would be before the brilliant minds in this world could come up with a vaccine. Once they did, I wondered how long it would be before I could get one. I honestly expected to wait a lot longer for both of those things, but when people work together toward a common enemy, amazing things happen.
When I was eligible, I signed up everywhere I could and started the computer dance of finding appointments for me and other family members. It felt a bit like trying to get front-row concert tickets but when I finally got them, it was even better than seeing a favorite band up close.
Now, my social media feeds are filling up with scores of friends and family members getting their shots, too. While I know it’s not a perfect system and it’s harder in some areas than others, it seems like we’re moving forward exponentially faster. Each time I see a post, that familiar lump in my throat appears, and I give thanks that those I care about are being protected. We are living an incredible moment in history.
March is also the month dedicated to commemorating women’s history. While it’s important to recognize accomplishments from long ago, it’s just as important to celebrate the achievements of modern-day women who are blazing paths in their fields. Check out the great feature, Spartan women trailblazers to learn about some amazing women who are making better tomorrows for all of us.
You can find remarkable women (and other people) throughout the Spartan community. Like student Alexandra Korabiewski, a junior majoring in biochemistry and music performance. She’s as skilled at the French horn as she is researching plasma cell membranes. Read her Student view: From sonatas and symphonies to lasers and lipids to learn more about this multi-talented and passionate Spartan.
Paulette Stenzel, professor emeritus of international business law and sustainability, found herself retooling her teaching methods when the pandemic hit, and classes moved online. She has found “unexpected silver linings” despite the challenges. Read her Faculty voice: Resilience and silver linings to learn more about her experience.
Who would have thought we would face what we have faced this past year? Who could have guessed we’d be talking so much about “resilience” or celebrating the ability to get a shot? Who would have guessed we’d be living what will be an astonishing history for future generations to learn about?
We are a generation who has suffered terrible losses this past year. But we are also a generation of people who have come together in the most difficult times to care for and protect each other. I cheered on strangers who were getting their vaccines and will continue to applaud every shot in the arm I learn about.
Be there for each other. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Much of that light lives in the millions of vaccines being distributed. They’re safe, they work and they will get us back to lives we remember living.
Let’s remember to not get lazy or give up. We still have work to do and precautions to continue to take. Let’s continue the fight, especially since we recently identified a new coronavirus variant in the campus community. Let’s all make sure that when history is written about us, we stood up and did the right thing. Spartans Will.