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Full Circle 

By: Leslie

By Hannah

On March 11, 2020, I walked the halls of my high school for what I would have never guessed to be the last time. My sister and I celebrated the phone call we received that night that we would have no school for the next few weeks. And I think you know how the story goes…

On March 12, 2021, I walked the halls of California Northstate University in Elk Grove, California. A location I would have truly never expected to find myself, and definitely never imagined to be excited to go to. I was spending the day volunteering at the College of Pharmacy’s vaccination clinic, guiding excited people from the door to their seats where they would eagerly await their vaccine. I spent the day talking to people and hearing numerous stories of where people were a year ago. The air in the room was light and hopeful, it felt like the whole room let out a sigh of relief.

As I sat down in one of those seats to get the vaccine myself, I reflected on how far I’d come since that day last March. Just one year had passed, yet my entire outlook on my life had flipped on its head. Exactly a year before I was thinking about missing my prom and graduation. Now, I couldn’t tell you the last time either of those things crossed my mind. They feel so small now as I look back on the last 12 months and see what significant losses we have faced as a world.

I mentioned in my previous blog that I was hoping to find ways to step up and give back to my community. In addition to volunteering at a couple of different vaccination clinics, I have joined the Serve the Moment Service Corps. Through this program I have been distributing food to those in need in my area, writing letters to express gratitude to the frontline workers who have shown extreme strength for the last year (see photos below), and working with The Ella Baker Center who works both locally and nationally to help Black, Brown, and Low-income communities shift resources from prisons and punishment-based systems to opportunities that make our communities safe, healthy, and strong.

I have found this time I’ve spent at home to be very rewarding. I am doing work I would never have done otherwise, getting exposure to new issues and ideas and learning more than I could have imagined. It is allowing me to give meaning to this incredibly challenging time.