It has been a year, an entire year, since we all received the email from the university saying that COVID-19 reached campus. I vividly remember this email, especially since prior to reading it, I had little information about the virus, and I truly did not realize that it was as close to me as it was. However, I was not the only one who was shocked, as each classmate was looking around the room confused and shocked as well. It was a very surreal experience and even now, I find it hard to believe that it wasn’t a storyline in a novel, but instead was something that really happened, and is still happening.
363 days after that first email was sent, I received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. This happened merely three weeks ago, from when I am writing this, so I remember it very well. Just as I have been with other issues caused by this virus, the idea of the vaccine made me nervous. I didn’t know what to expect as far as symptoms and I was overwhelmed with other things to do, making it difficult for me to allot time to rest. However, for as much anxiety as I had, I was just as excited. Even though the vaccine still means that I have to be careful, I was excited to be sure that I was safe. So there I was standing in line waiting, anxious and excited all at once. Then, after a quick 30 second conversation with the pharmacist, I had received the first dose.
Of course, the part that really made me nervous about the vaccine was not the shot itself, but its symptoms. I am sure that I was not the only one, however, and while my experience will not be the same as everyone else’s, I hope that sharing mine will help ease the anxiety for others. Falling into a void of COVID-19 vaccine tweets the night prior truly made me expect the worst, yet my symptoms after the first dose were mild. I was tired for the next two days, with the second day being far worse than the first. On the second day, I also got achy and had the chills, issues which subsided when I went to sleep. Following the 48 hour mark, there were no residual symptoms besides my sore arm, which only lasted a few more days before I was once again feeling good as new. However, then I had to wait 3 weeks to get the second one, one of the more difficult “symptoms” to overcome for my impatient self.
The day I am writing this marks 3 weeks from my first dose. Four hours ago, I received my second dose, and while I am excited to be “done,” I am still sitting anxiously on my couch awaiting a wall of symptoms to hit me like a truck. Thus far, I have had very few symptoms. My arm hurts, much worse than the first dose did at this point, but that is manageable. Also, I am beginning to feel tired again and a bit foggy. Besides that, however, I still feel fine and now just have to await full immunity for two weeks.
I am so excited to have gotten the vaccine, yet I am still very nervous about the pandemic as a whole. Despite having immunity, I know that I will still be particularly careful seeing people and will surely still do my best to live in a low risk way, even if that is not as necessary. At this point, it is just so routine that I think it will be harder to change it than to keep doing it. After over a year of this, everything is so habitual, a fact which makes me so anxious about going back to “normal.” Especially with the potential for new strains, I am so nervous about going back to in person classes, maintaining a suddenly-imposed regular schedule, and dealing with new rules that accompany these changes. However, for as much as we don’t know about this pandemic, I am sure that it will continually be changing, just as it has the past year. We will just all have to get through it together!