KEVIN SHON WRITES — March 19, 2020 was like a never-ending state of confusion. Classes were online. People were fighting over toilet paper at Costco. Sporting events, concerts and festivals were put on hold. There was no traffic in Los Angeles.
Fast-forward to April 2021, I own five different CDC-approved masks and never leave the house without one. Students are experiencing Zoom burnout. Toilet paper is not a hot commodity anymore. Traffic is back in Los Angeles. It has been an incredibly long year, full of ups and downs.
I just got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine and my experience was unlike anything I have ever been through. The wait was fairly long, and the side effects are pretty potent, but the emotion that I felt waiting in line and that culminated after my shot was something I did not predict. I cried for what seemed like hours. The nurse asked if I was okay and I responded, “It has been such a long year and we are so close to the end.” I feel so incredibly lucky and privileged to have received the vaccine. I am an extremely outgoing person and spend the majority of my days outside in nature on hikes, working out, or playing sports. I sat inside of my apartment for five months alone. I lost friends, my motivation, and the desire to get out of bed. It seemed like everything was hitting the fan at once. My idol, Kobe Bryant, had passed away in late January. The world was literally on fire. Black Lives Matter had re-entered the chat and the political world became even more radicalized through these events, which should have brought us closer together.
I felt defeated. Hopeless and lost at the expense of a world I had no control over. My father is a high-risk individual following multiple surgeries and his age. I cried almost every day. Thankfully, nobody I knew was harshly affected by the pandemic and events. My father is now fully vaccinated.
I was drowning in self-pity and frustration, so you can assume how much worse I felt when I reflected on the communities that were being disproportionately torn apart by the virus. Climate change, pollution, health care services, viruses, all disproportionately affect persons of color. COVID-19 showed us how ill-equipped we are to deal with events such as this and the inequalities within the healthcare industry. I still do not understand why retail/minimum wage workers do not qualify for the vaccine. It boggles my mind. This is my unpopular opinion: the virus is incredibly deadly- there is no debate about that- however, I feel that those in power have politicized it. As I’ve grown through my class at LMU, I have become less identified with political ideologies and realized many of the issues I am passionate about are bipartisan. Whoever can accomplish what needs to be done is who I would support. I still dislike Donald Trump. I am merely frustrated at some of the actions of the Democratic Party. After Biden was elected, state governors began lifting COVID restrictions. COVID numbers were at an all-time high, so why was this a good idea? The vaccine had not been produced on a scale that would permit this to occur without a high level of transmission. Well, I suppose everybody is human and we are all guilty of acting in our own self-interest.
What a world we live in. I want to tear the entire country apart and renew it, but I understand that may never happen. Even if it did, who’s to say we would not go back to the way we are now? Agh. I am frustrated.