The beach is calling my name this summer


Gabrielle Wood

Staff reporter, Gabrielle Wood, and her roommates Megan Leblanc (middle) and Hadley Hebert (right) pose after hiking at Red Bluff, Miss.

Summer: one of my favorite words. 

School is out, the air is warmer, the water is clearer and I’ve got a lot of much-needed free time on my hands. As an incoming senior, I’ll be savoring this summer a little extra before I’m stuck in an office 365 days a year for the rest of my life. Just the thought of that makes me cringe. 

Unlike last year, people can finally enjoy this wonderful season. With pandemic chaos at its all-time high, many businesses and places were closed summer of 2020, leaving everyone to entertain themselves in their own backyard. We missed out on so many experiences and memories, all for the greater good of course. 

This summer is catching up on that lost time in our lives. 

There has been lots of backlash about people choosing to vacation while the virus is ongoing. If an influencer posts themselves on a plane going anywhere, there are always negative comments following about how selfish and careless their actions are. 

For instance, Kim Kardashian threw her 40th birthday party on a private island in October after making sure everyone who attended quarantined for two weeks prior and tested negative for COVID-19. Still, the media and many fans were enraged. The following weekend, she apologized in an Instagram post in consideration of others.

However, we can’t keep ourselves locked up and isolated forever. 

As we have progressed throughout the pandemic, many tourist attractions and vacation spots have increased their safety policies to meet CDC guidelines. Places like Walt Disney World have implemented mandatory mask usage at all parks, enhanced cleaning, social distancing, increased sanitization areas and free wellness visits for cast members. 

Although it is not yet a requirement for international travel in most countries, COVID-19 vaccinations are available now more than ever. The university has held several vaccination clinics for students, free of charge. According to CNN, around 77 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against the virus. Personally, knowing that the vaccine is decreasing the spread of COVID-19 puts my mind more at ease when choosing to vacation amongst crowds of people. 

Last summer, I had to cancel a lot of plans that I had spent months looking forward to, but this time around, you will find me living my life to the fullest. 

In my final “free” summer, I plan to enjoy the waves at the beach, be a tourist in the great city of Las Vegas and hopefully go hiking with scenery I have yet to experience. Even though it was nice to be able to relax and take some time off from day-to-day activities last year, I am ready to see what else is out there. 

After the crazy year we had, I think it is safe to say that we all deserve a little vacation time.