Cecilia Lee

The pandemic has been a lot of things: stressful, challenging, tumultuous and — dare I say — unprecedented. COVID-19 has taken a toll on all of us as we grapple with disorienting news cycles, inaccessibility of testing and confused messaging from our health officials. However, as with much in our collective history, certain peoples and communities have been — and continue to be — overlooked during this pandemic. They’ve been left to fend for themselves amidst the squabbles over mandates and vaccines and restrictions. But these folks aren’t some disembodied, far-away group. No. They exist right here within the stone walls of Yale and in the larger New Haven community, and it’s about time we started including them in these conversations and listening to their needs. 

I’m talking, of course, about me.

COVID-19 sucks! Like a lot. Sure, maybe it sucks for some people more than others: for those who have elderly family members, who are immunocompromised or who actually care about other people. But, have you considered, for even the tiniest moment, how I feel? Let’s unpack that! If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that kind of behavior was … selfish? Boom! I said it. It’s out there! Tough pill to swallow, huh?

Look, when I was in high school, I dreamed about what my life in college would be like all the time! I had visions of late nights spent with my roommates, eating meals in the dining halls and going to “social events” on the weekends and definitely not drinking because that is a big no-no. As the only person to ever have such dreams, it is incredibly frustrating to have the Yale-branded rug ripped out from under my feet. 

For no reason whatsoever, Yale decided to shift classes back online and ban all social gatherings at the end of last semester. I feel like I’ve traveled back in time to spring 2021. In fact, I would argue that the circumstances are exactly the same then as they are now, and there is absolutely no evidence or external factors that say otherwise. After a semester of feasting in the dining halls, I am now forced to scarf down grab-and-go meals in my room. You know where else people have to eat meals in their heated and furnished rooms? Prison! Yep, that’s right! Welcome to Jail University, where they make me eat freshly cooked food at my desk while watching Netflix on my computer. And as if that weren’t bad enough, classes are online again. Spending the past two weeks on Zoom has been absolutely terrible, and I don’t think I can do it anymore. Yet, despite countless facts I’ve cherry-picked to support my own views, Yale continues to impose these oppressive policies on me with no end in sight. 

Now, I know what you’re all thinking: What about immunocompromised students? What about Yale employees? What about the greater New Haven community? To that, I point to the many health experts like Vanessa Hudgens who show us that all of these issues and problems have a very simple and effective solution: stop caring! I’m sure there must have been many studies showing that the less you care about people, the more you can focus on yourself and your own happiness. Being at college means being part of a community which means sacrifice for the common good, and I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely willing to let other people sacrifice a lot more than me so I can get shitfaced at Woads — hypothetically shitfaced, of course. I mean, there’s no way I’m missing the “High School Musical” vs. “Camp Rock” night. 

Even though I’ve barely been here for two years, I want my college back! I miss the days when I could force myself to sit through a friend’s a cappella show or stroll into my seminar 30 minutes late with a Blue State iced coffee in my hand — you know, the true Yale experience. Instead, this school has pulled the Canada Goose fur over my eyes and prevented me and only me from having the college experience that would worry my campaign team when I run for office. All I want is to sit in classrooms, eat meals in dining halls and start a new cryptocurrency club for some reason. Is that so much to ask?

Enough is enough! It’s about time Yale wakes up and starts giving its students what I want. But until that day comes, I will keep the fight alive, one Op-Ed at a time. Because at the end of the day, I’m not just doing this for myself. I’m doing this for God, for country and for Yale.