Dr. Christina Greer (115266)
Dr. Christina Greer

It’s hard to believe summer is upon us. I can remember this time last year when most of us were indoors, worried about COVID, and watching as the number of Americans who contracted and/or died from COVID steadily rose. This summer feels somewhat different. Americans have been getting vaccinated so they can protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

The overall fear of COVID seems to have declined, for better or for worse. Many people are behaving as though COVID-19 has disappeared, it has not. As a nation, we are definitely in a better position than we were last year. However, even though many people may be “over” COVID-19, COVID is not over us. We must still act responsibly as we make summer plans and begin to gather with family and friends in ways we did not last summer.

So, what are your summer plans? I recently went to dinner and sat outside on a closed street busy with outdoor restaurants. I am still not comfortable sitting indoors just yet and sitting outside allowed me to people watch as well as bump into friends I have not seen in person for over 16 months. I had forgotten how much I enjoy hugging people. I must admit I am a bit awkward making eye contact and being around more than just one or two people. I am practicing patience with myself as I emerge into society.

I also traveled this summer in a way I did not last year. I actually flew on an airplane and felt comfortable in the airport. I was double masked and still practiced social distancing. What I am realizing is, everyone is at a different level of comfort emerging back into society and we must try to respect the varying levels of emergence as people begin to move about the city and travel to see family and friends.

I also realized that I did not read much last summer. I absolutely love taking advantage of my summer schedule and making time to read novels each summer, but I think the stresses of last summer had me a bit distracted and not in the mental space to read my long summer reads. However, this summer I have already read two novels, “Transcendent Kingdom” by Yaa Gyasi and “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett, which I would recommend.

However you choose to spend your summer, hopefully you will be able to safely see friends and family. Hopefully you will make time to do something you weren’t able to do last summer. For those of us who survived last summer, we can also take a time to breathe and reflect on that feat. Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable summer. For the New Yorkers, try to take advantage of the many beaches!

Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and also the What’s in It for Us podcast.