I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life:
- Games Attendant, Hershey Park
- Mortgage Loan Auditor, Harris Savings Bank
- Tutor, Sylvan Learning Center
- Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina
- Graduate Teaching Fellow, University of North Carolina
- Research Assistant, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
- Consultant, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
- Assistant Professor of Psychology, Benedictine University
- Associate Professor of Psychology, Benedictine University
- Pet & House Sitter, TrustedHouseSitters.com; MindMyHouse.com; HousesittersAmerica.com; HousesittersCanada.com
- Café Worker, Station Place Cafe
- Writer, Norfolk Now
- Online Editor, Norfolk Now
- Liaison, Norfolk Hub
- Executive Assistant, Norfolk Library
- Director of Community & Creativity, Norfolk Church of Christ Congregational (UCC)
- Community Engagement Coordinator, Norfolk Library
And, my personal favorite:
- Dog walker!
Now, I have one more to add to the list:
This one I did not see coming. But, yes, I am now a credited producer on a COVID-19 vaccine video.
This video is the result of a collaboration with Dr. Richard Kessin, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology, Emeritus, Columbia University. For a little over a year, I’ve been helping Rich set up his website. Rich has been writing science columns for local newspapers in his retirement, and he wanted a website where people could access all his writing. As Rich is an expert in disease and vaccines, he was my go-to person to ask all COVID-19 virus and vaccine-related questions. The idea for a public service video came up and we just went with it!
You can check out the video here.
As someone who is three days away from being fully vaccinated, I am so proud to be a part of this video. I’ll be honest – I was scared to get the vaccine. I had concerns that it was developed too quickly and that there would be unknown effects that would only be revealed with time. As Rich explained to me, the technology to create and administer the vaccine is something that’s been in the works for over a decade. It may seem quick to us, but to the scientists it hasn’t been that quick at all.
Another point Rich made that resonated with me is that my worries were all unknown hypotheticals. What if this and what if that. COVID-19 is a very real and present danger. The risks of this virus are known. Why would I jeopardize my health and the health of those I loved for something that’s imaginary?
When I thought about the vaccine in those terms, I pushed through my fear and got the shot. There are many people in my life I would do whatever it takes to protect them and keep them safe. And if that means taking on the fear of the unknown, then I realized I would do that for them. Because I love them. Because they matter to me.
I recently got into a discussion with someone about the vaccine. I explained that I would continue to practice social distancing and masking to help keep people safe. This person explained that throughout my life I’ve already passed on many germs, getting people sick, possibly even killing them. People I would never even know. My conversation with this person then got cut off, so I’ll never really know what I would have said in the moment as my response.
But as I replayed that conversation in my head, here’s what I would have liked to say: What makes you think I’m okay with any of that? I’m someone who prioritizes the values of service to others and compassion in my life. I’m a regular blood donor. My bone marrow is in the national registry. My husband knows that if something were to happen to me, he’s to donate my organs – and my organ donor status is indicated on my license, too. I’ve learned A LOT in this pandemic about what it means to be a good citizen and a good neighbor. If there are things I can do, like stay home when I’m sick, wear a mask to prevent spreading germs, wash my hands, get a vaccine, why wouldn’t I do those things to help other people stay healthy and safe?
Why does it have to be such a big deal for us to care about others? Is there anything we can possibly say that will convince people to care about others simply because it’s the right thing to do?
I don’t know. But, I’m going to keep trying. This video is just one more way I can be a part of something bigger than myself. When I heard an interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci recently, he said those of us who got vaccinated are part of the solution. Those who haven’t are now part of the problem. His words resonated with me. I am thrilled and delighted to be a part of the COVID-19 solution. It’s one of the few things I can do these days that has a direct benefit on others.
If you haven’t already gotten vaccinated, I encourage you to consider your reasons why. Think about those reasons in the context of what we actually know and what are the imaginary what-ifs. Think about what you’re truly willing to do for those you love. Yes, it can be scary to face unknowns. That’s why we have professionals who devote their entire adult lives to becoming experts. So they can answer our questions for us and alleviate any of our concerns.
So if you have any questions, you can ask me and I’ll pass them right along to Richard Kessin. I maybe be a producer, but I’m no vaccine expert. Just a fan of them!