Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, never did I think one day I would be one of the people working the frontlines to help the city during a pandemic.
Throughout the last two years I have been studying to obtain a Master of Global Development remotely, while working the frontlines of a pandemic in the city that raised me. Due to the climate at the time, I went part-time and having just arrived back in Queensland, I will now graduate from Griffith in person this December!
I was gravitated towards the Master of Global Development program due to the wide range of potential careers that stem from this Masters. Having grown up wanting to help people domestically and internationally, global development was the way to go.
Being in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic was an interesting experience. Through lockdowns, mandates, limitations on what is open, and the past infection rates, it has been beyond challenging.
I started out in the pandemic in Brisbane, and had to return to the United States in June 2020. On the flight, I was given a form to fill out attesting that I had not been to any high-risk places in the last two weeks, and once touching down in Los Angeles, there was no one to collect the form or monitor our temperatures.
Transitioning from not wearing a mask in socially-distanced Brisbane to being thrown into wearing one 24/7 took some time to get used to. The few months that followed were extremely challenging. With LA County changing and adapting their policies to help with the crisis, it led to many things remaining shut. Luckily Los Angeles has nice weather year-round and we had outside dining, gyms, and limited capacity in shopping centres for the entirety of 2020; movie theatres and the like remained closed.
The only times I left the house for the span of June to October, 2020 were for physical therapy, doctor’s appointments, weekly grocery runs, and seeing family. Due to COVID-19 and leaving Australia, I unfortunately developed severe depression. COVID-19 ravaged people’s lives differently, and that is how it impacted mine.
What lifted me out of depression was an opportunity to join the fight on the frontlines. Late October, I found an organisation called CORE Response. CORE was responsible for a large part of the COVID response in Los Angeles, running test sites all over the city since March 2020. It was a chance for me to give back to the community, and most of all, find my purpose again.