Due to coronavirus, many professors have recently taken to Zoom to teach their classes. This has, of course, resulted in total chaos. You see, for every lecture that’s running smoothly, there are at least fifty where the slides aren’t showing up, the app keeps crashing, and either everyone’s mic is muted or nobody’s is.
Needless to say, there’s a lot going on right now. A global pandemic, the unrelenting fear of the unknown, and homework? I can maybe handle two of those things on a good day. Perhaps it will help to remember that we’re all in the same boat, even if it’s a really poorly built boat with no GPS in the middle of a storm. Here, then, are some of the things we’re all currently going through as we pivot to Zoom.
1. The sea of blank, listless faces when the professor asks “Can everyone hear me?”
2. The sea of blank, listless faces when the professor asks anything at all.
3. Threading the needle between 1) joining the class so early that you’re forced to spend several minutes staring uncomfortably at your classmates in total silence, and 2) joining the class so late that you’re tardy and miss the professor saying something important.
4. Half the class is dressed like they’ve got somewhere to be that isn’t their bedroom, the living room, and occasionally the kitchen. The other half clearly rolled out of bed thirty seconds before the lecture started and it shows.
5. When someone’s mic isn’t muted and they start eating something crunchy.
6. When someone’s mic isn’t muted and they’re sniffling.
7. When someone’s mic isn’t muted and their mom starts yelling their name from the living room because the DVR isn’t working.
8. Constantly thinking about the movie Unfriended. What if that happened right now? What if it happened to you? Would anyone notice? Would anyone care? Would you still be required to submit your essay at 11:59 PM or would the professor give you an extension? There’s so much to think about.
9. The vicious battle royale that ensues when everyone’s talking over each other to earn a single participation point.
10. There are no rules. One person is applying a face mask. Another is doing push-ups. Another is fully in bed, under the covers, pajama-clad and eating brownie batter out of a mixing bowl. Someone’s smoke alarm is chirping every two minutes. Dogs wander in and out of frame. It’s lawless, like the Wild West.
11. Marathoning lectures like it’s a Netflix binge-watch because they’re all pre-recorded and you haven’t been keeping up.
12. When the professor didn’t get the memo about lighting and consistently lectures from what appears to be a pitch-black room.
13. Feverishly shuffling through your inbox looking for the original email with the Zoom link thirty seconds before class is supposed to start. You could save it somewhere, sure, but then you’d miss the adrenaline rush of high stakes and a ticking clock.
14. Half the class is watching TikToks. The other half is playing Animal Crossing.
15. Pretending your webcam froze when the professor asks a question you don’t know the answer to.
16. When the professor makes use of virtual backgrounds, and it’s like a little treat.
17. Someone is driving. Someone else is at the store.
18. When someone forgets everyone can see them.
19. When you forgot everyone can see you.
20. When attending class from the comfort of your own bed makes school feel optional, and you have to constantly remind yourself to take it seriously in spite of, you know, the *gestures grandly at everything that’s going on* of it all. (Need help staying motivated? We can help.)