One of the gross presumptions in the world is the notion that everything revolves around you. It’s gross in multiple facets of the word — not only is it something people are bound to feel due to their own self-perception, but it can be absolutely disgusting to witness. The amount of self-centeredness I am surrounded by on any given day would bring me to my knees if I gave it any heed, but I am often too consumed by my own agenda to do so. However, what I do notice are faces.

I know we’re all tired of mandates. COVID-19 policies feel unbearable at times, and I’m no saint — I haven’t adhered to every rule perfectly. However, the combination of the anti-vaccine rally outside of Strong Memorial Hospital and the complaints on UR_SecretSafe have started to dig into my skin. Every groan is like the jab of a needle, but there’s no cure to the disease of frustration. It’s on us as a community to be as safe as possible in hopes that things will get better as a result of our efforts. Like it or not, on campus, we have to mask up and shut up.

Like everyone else, I wish this all was over. A “normal” year, something I’ve never seen here at the University, is something I yearn for more than anything. However, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said it best: We must remain vigilant. Things suck, yeah, but if there wasn’t this to complain about, there is always something else.

I’m writing this now in anticipation — right now, the biggest issue on campus is dining. To quote UR_SecretSafe itself, “for [students] whose only real meal in the day is what they eat at school, this just doesn’t seem fair.” The student pushback to the closing of dining spots on campus and the shortening of hours has given us a feeling of community, despite the struggle. However, I dread the possibility that once this problem wanes, complaints about COVID restrictions will come back in full force, especially if cases start to rise as we’re forced inside by the impending cold.

This article isn’t meant to bash anyone without productive reason — in fact, I empathize completely with everyone who holds resentment for the guidelines we have to follow, even if I don’t agree with their choice to voice them. Also, I know the hypocrisy in criticizing open opinions in an Opinions article, so instead of just bitching, I’m making a call to action. Let’s mask up and shut up — at least selectively — together. Let’s focus on what we can change, and channel our efforts into pushing for improvements that are possible. Hopefully, if we stay safe in solidarity, we’ll get through this.

Tagged: COVID-19

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