COLUMN: Where do we go from here? That’s up to you.


Even after receiving my vaccine, I still feel anxious. 

Whether it's walking through a store without my mask or making small talk with a stranger I'm thinking about an invisible virus flying through the air.

More than a year of stay-at-home orders and the feeling of normal life just isn’t coming back. 

That anxiety is greater than ever, now that I’m back in Mount Pleasant for my last year at Central Michigan University. Despite my hope for a speedy recovery, the world, this country, and our campus are far from safe

We’ve all seen the headlines; the contagious delta variant contributes to rising numbers of new COVID-19 cases, leaving many concerned.

Me? I’m concerned, but I’m also hopeful. Life at CMU may not look like 2019, but it won’t exactly look like 2020 either. 

More than 80 percent of scheduled fall courses will have face-to-face components. Guests are welcome back inside residence halls. RSOs are allowed to meet in person under certain health and safety guidelines. We will finally get our long-awaited fall wellness break in October. 

Aspects of pandemic life may linger much longer than we thought. Why should that stop us from having a meaningful college experience?

I watched new students arrive on campus for IMPACT and Leadership Safari this week. It reminded me of when I first came here in 2018. I recalled all the laughs shared with my Safari group, hugging my parents after moving into Wheeler Hall, the sense of wonder while exploring campus on my own. 

It wasn’t long until my joining Central Michigan Life made this campus a home. I found pride in the work I do here. More importantly, I found my people. 

Looking back, however, I realize the best part of my college experience was meeting you - the students who make their voices heard by speaking up about what’s important to them. As I looked across the groups of new and returning students over the last few days, it felt nice to know that CM Life would be interviewing some of you this year.

Pandemic or not, what you decide to do with your college experience is up to you. As we continue to trudge our way back to normal life, now is the time to make your mark on this community. 

Whether that be starting a new RSO, putting in hours at the Volunteer Center, or aiding in exciting new research endeavors, it can all be done this year.

I can feel the fog of COVID-19 lifting. The university’s latest move to let students choose between vaccinations or weekly testing is a major step in the right direction. 

But, it’s up to you now. 

As a senior who has had half of my college experience robbed by this virus; do what you can to look after others. Whether it's getting your vaccine or your weekly testing, keep doing things to help fight this pandemic.

Hopefully, this year I’ll be able to send reporters to in-person interviews, send photographers to shoot open-mic-nights and see our sports guys do some terrific live coverage. 

I want that to happen. I know it can happen. 

Survival mode may soon be over, let’s make this the year of recovery we all need.