My Turn, Abby Brown: Don’t only think of yourself

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 20, 2022

By Abby Brown

I want to begin this by saying it’s in no way related to politics and is just the perspective of a student living during COVID-19 and my experiences.

I am 17 years old and a senior at Gray Stone Day School. In February 2020, I started working at Chick-fil-A. I worked for around a week before the dining room had to be shut down, we moved strictly to a drive-thru and had to wear a mask at all times.

At the beginning, I hated the masks. I hated how suffocating it felt, but it got better. I left Chick-fil-A and started at Rack Room Shoes. I was still pretty against the masks because it was summertime and it was hot, itchy and stuffy, but I realized that if I wanted to work and make money, then I needed to wear a mask.

In August 2020, I started my junior year at Gray Stone and we were completely virtual. Even though we were virtual, it was basically a breeze. Around April or May we got to go back in person. Parents and students were angry because we had to wear masks in order to go back, but Mrs. Nance and the administration of Gray Stone really handled all of this with grace.

Gray Stone made the decision to make masks mandatory and, in doing so, enabled every single student to safely return to campus. The class of 2021 got to graduate together and walk across a stage and get their diplomas handed to them. Students got to have their families watch them graduate — all because we were wearing masks.

Now, fast forward all the way to August 2021 — my senior year of high school. I am no longer in protest of wearing a mask because I have been wearing them properly for so long that it’s pretty much my new normal. I also got my COVID shot and plan on getting my booster soon as well — not because someone told me to but because it’s the right thing to do.

I want to be able to keep my friends and family safe and I want to eventually be able to gather in large groups without having to wear a mask. So, I believe by wearing my mask and getting my shot, I am doing my part.

The entire point of this is not to shame others who do or don’t wear a mask or do or don’t get their COVID shot. It’s more about that fact that some people are completely ignorant to the facts. At this point, wearing a mask isn’t about politics anymore. It’s about being a good person. Every single time people are around others, they are spreading the virus, even if you think you don’t have it.

Back to the timeline. I graduate in around five months, and I need to walk across that stage. It isn’t fair to me that the parents of our generation aren’t letting the ones living in the situation have their own voice.

Another thing is that I am going to college for pre-law and political science. I want to be a lawyer and later on a judge. So, I also participate in a mock trial club as one of my extracurricular classes. I have a competition coming up Feb. 5. I am actually a team captain and I’ve been doing it for 5 years now. But I just got news that my last year doing the only thing I really care about is now going to have to be online. It’s not fair.

I want to end with this: don’t just think about yourself; think about others too. Please open your eyes and stop with the excuses.

Abby Brown is a senior at Gray Stone Day School and plans on pursuing a degree in pre-law and political science after graduation.