By Raya Kanaan
After a year and a half of McDaniel Zoom classes, I can say that I have seen my fair share of fellow students and can sort them into the following categories:
The cozy student:
Regardless of what time of day it is, this person is always in their pajamas or even bathrobes. They’re just staring blankly into the screen and constantly sipping their coffee as if their lives depended on it. They have no shame in keeping their cameras on, even though it is quite obvious that they are lying in bed ready for their afternoon siesta. When called upon, they mumble something under their breath and go about their day.
The erratic attendant/ghost:
They’re finally here! Or are they? I’m not sure. Either they have a poor connection or they obviously just do not want to be in class. They show up to class every other day and when they do, they stay silent throughout the whole thing, with their cameras off, only to unmute themselves whenever the teacher says “Thank you! See you next week.” To which they reply, using their most monotonous voice; “Bye.”
The enthusiastic student:
This student is ready! They get to class ten minutes before the start of the meeting, they have one hand on the “raise hand button” and need to be the first ones to answer whatever question is being asked. They have read the material thoroughly and will not hesitate to tell you that. The question that gets them the most excited is: “Anyone care to share their thoughts on last week’s readings?” Oh, they care, they care a lot. We are all suddenly coerced into listening to a 30-minute monologue about how the readings have changed their perspectives on life and love and how it also gave them all the answers to the universes’ questions.
The “bit too chill” student:
They are completely fine with whatever is happening. They live by the motto “Zoom time is me time.” They feel like a cigarette. No problem, they’ll have one. They are famished and in need of a snack? They’ll go grab one. They will take their sweet time sipping on tea, eating their snack, and finishing off the meal with the much-anticipated cigarette. It is only then that they decide to move from the desk to the couch without turning their cameras off, giving you an unfortunate and dizzying tour of their apartment.
The virtual flight attendant:
These people were the center of attention at the beginning of the Zoom trend. They used to – within the span of one class – take us to Dubai, San Francisco, and if we’re lucky, they’ll have us seated in a resort in Fiji looking at the sunset in no time. (Un)fortunately, this was just a fad, and we now have to look at their boring white background, longing for the good old days.
The not so tech-savvy:
Are you seeing my screen? Can you hear me well? Is this working? Oh, shoot, I meant to share another screen. How about now? Can you hear me better? I’m sorry, I’ll just log in and out again. I’ll be back in a bit. Finally, I can hear you. Sorry professor, I had a question. Professor? Professor, can you hear me? I’ll just connect on my phone.
The unmuted multitasker:
We can hear everything they do because they never seem to remember to mute their mics. They unmute themselves to answer a question and we end up listening to the phone conversation they had with their real estate agent. They only mute themselves when the teacher asks them to. Luckily for them, teachers can now control the mute button. Unfortunately for us, the episode ended on a cliffhanger. Have they or have they not bought the apartment with a terrace?