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In March, I was just glad to get a few days off of school.
The pandemic wasn’t bad yet and by that I mean things were actually terrible, but we didn’t know yet. For many, the coronavirus was akin to ebola or the zika virus in that we didn’t actually expect it to affect the U.S.. There would be a few cases brought in by people who had traveled outside of the country and didn’t wash their hands enough. A few articles would be written about it. Meme pages on Instagram would make jokes about Corona also being a brand of beer.
Then we’d all forget it was ever a thing.
Now, in December, I can say that I have survived the virus.
My entire family contracted it in September. After months of being careful ––not seeing friends or family, missing prom and graduation, crying because my first semester of my dream college would be completely remote ––our efforts to stay safe suddenly seemed futile when that positive result came back.
I was terrified, not so much for me, but for my parents with underlying conditions, for my little sister with a weak immune system. For the first time, the thought crossed my mind.
My family may not survive this.
After a few weeks of flu-like symptoms, checking oxygen levels religiously and taking shots of hot sauce for fun because my taste and smell had completely disappeared, we all started to get better. One by one, as the virus left, our hope returned. My perspective on not just the pandemic, but life as a whole, shifted.
I still missed my friends and wished more than anything I could visit my grandma.
I still had to attend college remotely and wouldn’t get to fulfill my cinematic dreams of raging parties and late night talks in dorms.
This world was still a hard one to adapt to, but I survived the coronavirus. After that, everything else seems more bearable.
Of course, I can’t wait for the world to get better. I don’t know if normal exists anymore, and considering the broken systems and failing social services this pandemic has exposed, I don’t think I’d want things to go back to how they were anyways. But when the first Pfizer vaccine was administered in the United States, I was thrilled. I looked to see when I, a healthy 18-year-old with no underlying causes, would be able to get the vaccine. To no surprise, article after article told me I was last in line, but I didn’t really care.
Attending college remotely has actually been great. I’m learning a ton and still managing to make friends. I’ve picked up skateboarding because it’s something I can do outside, socially distanced. After all getting tested, my grandma is going to drive to spend Christmas with us.
I’ve adapted to this new world better than many because I have the privilege of doing so. My need for the vaccine is one of comfortability, not survival. I’ll be okay without it for a few more months.