Here are eight tips so you can have a stress-free vaccine process.

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On Wednesday, I received my second COVID-19 vaccine. After my shot, I realized there are a number of tips I wish I knew beforehand, that would have saved me a lot of time and stress.

  1. Arrive Early
  2. Be Prepared For a Line
  3. Don't Worry, Be Happy
  4. Be Nice
  5. Go To The Bathroom Before
  6. Have All Your Proper Documents
  7. You May Want to Double Mask
  8. Know The Parking Situation

I'll go into more details on each tip below. For starters, you may be wondering why I'm eligible. I'm eligible because I'm a professor at Marist College.

Marist is taking many steps to keep students and faculty safe like mandatory testing, a delayed start to the semester, smaller classes, social distancing and mask-wearing. But despite all that, we are still in a pandemic and the virus is still spreading.

One of my students was diagnosed with COVID-19 last week and another student is quarantining after being exposed. So, I was very happy to be able to get my vaccine in hopes of keeping my family, friends, Townsquare Media coworkers and myself safe.

For weeks I tried to get an appointment for my parents and myself and failed.

Then one Friday afternoon, I happened to see a text sent from Dutchess County about appointments opening. When I clicked on the link, I learned there were many appointments, but at the Javits Center in New York City.

I really didn't want to drive to New York City, but as the saying goes beggars can't be choosers.

Here are some tips I wish I knew before going for my shot.

1) Arrive Early.

When I get my first shot, last month, I arrived at the Javit's Center an hour early. An official told me it was ok to be early, or late, as long as I was within the range of the time and arrived on the date I was told.

Getting my first shot was a breeze. I was in and out in less and 30 minutes, and that includes waiting for 15 minutes to make sure I didn't have a reaction to the shot.

Because I hit no traffic my first time and had no lines with my first shot, I left a little later for my second shot. Wow, was this a huge mistake! I dealt with New York City traffic, a long line to park and a long line to get my shot.

Had I arrived early, I would likely have dealt with shorter lines and felt less stress, knowing I wasn't going to be late. That leads me to my next tip

2) Be Prepared For a Line

About each week more New Yorkers are eligible to receive their vaccine and New York State is receiving more doses. This is great news, but this also means more people will be getting their shot at the same time as you.

Be prepared for a line. I stood in line for an hour before I could get my shot. Had I known going in there was going to be a long line, I probably would have been less stressed while waiting. By the time I got to the front of the line, the line had doubled. So anyone after me probably had a much longer wait.

3) Don't Worry, Be Happy

At first, I wasn't pleased with the long line. Who would be? But then I realized I'm very lucky to be able to get my vaccine. There are a lot of people who are eligible but can't find an appointment. Be grateful you are lucky enough to get an appointment and be happy all of these New Yorkers and workers are doing their part to help end this pandemic.

4) Be Nice

No one there is happy to have a long wait. But, all of us want to return to normal life as soon as possible.

The woman in front of me was not paying attention and often there were 30 feet of separation, if not more, between her and the person in front of her.

Yes, of course, this was annoying. But as I waited for the woman to move, I realized we were still going to get to the end of the line when we were supposed to.

While annoyed, I never complained to the woman or pushed her forward. When we finally reached the end, she said to me with a smile, "We finally made it! Good luck!"

5) Go To The Bathroom Before

When you go, you may also have a long wait. There were no bathrooms while I waited and had I gotten off the line, I would have lost my spot. The entire hour I waited, I really had to use the bathroom. So, as my parents used to tell me as a child do a "potty check" before you enter the line.

6) Have All Your Proper Documents

There are many documents you need for your vaccine. Research what you need before you go. For me, I needed my driver's license, my college ID, my appointment confirmation and my vaccine card.

7) You May Want to Double Mask

Officials now say wearing two masks gives you more protection from COVID than using one mask. The CDC recommends wearing a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask.

I did not wear two masks but did notice many who did. As I waited in the line for an hour, with probably 500 other people, I realized I'm standing next to more people than I have in over a year, so two masks may have given me more protection

8) Know The Parking Situation

This is probably the most important tip I can offer. Especially if you are driving to New York City. Some places have plenty of parking, so finding a spot won't be an issue. That wasn't the case at the Javits Center.

My first time down, I was lucky enough to get a parking spot on the street. Score, for not paying for parking!

That was not the case my second time. I should have realized with so many more appointments there would be many more people looking for parking.

For $10 the Javits Center has two-hour parking for anyone getting a vaccine. The parking spot is located at 633 West 34th Street.

What you need to know, is you can only enter the parking lot from the West Side Highway. I learned this the hard way.

My GPS had me turn from 11th Avenue onto West 34th Street. As I traveled down West 34th Street, towards the West Side Highway, the parking lot was on my left. But, you can't make a left into the parking lot. There are cones set up and workers telling you, you must enter from the West-Side Highway.

So, I had to drive onto the West Side Highway, make a U-Turn and then turn left onto West 34th Street. That got me on the line for parking, which also took some time to pay and wait for a spot to open.

Had I taken the West Side Highway all the way to West 34th Street I would have had no issue entering the parking lot.

I hope these tips help when you go get your vaccine. Good luck!

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