As students of Zoom University, most college kids have gotten used to the difficulties of attending class through a digital platform. The untrustworthy Zoom links, difficulties of screen sharing and struggles of unmuting the microphones are all familiar to us. We have grown comfortable with seeing our classmates’ faces on tiny boxes.
Undoubtedly, one of the most fun (albeit kind of creepy) consequences of the coronavirus is our newfound ability to look into the childhood homes of our peers.
Whether they are lying in bed, sitting at their desk or camouflaging their background with a virtual projection of a beach, Zoom backgrounds can tell a lot about a person. Who needs Co-Star anymore?
Here are some of the trends that I have noticed. Which one are you?
The Diligent Desk-Sitter
These students, usually freshly showered with a cup of coffee or tea in their hands, seem totally unaffected by the switch to online classes. They look polished, ready for the day and eager to complete assignments. If you are this type of person, you probably set your alarm for an hour before class begins so you have time to eat a proper breakfast and get ready for the day.
Some of these students sit at desks in their room, with their bed made in the background. However, the vast majority of these students sit in their study or their parents’ home office, with fully stocked mahogany bookshelves setting a studious background behind them. If you have this background, you are a straight-A student. From the bottom of my heart, I applaud you.
We’ve all seen these students and, let’s be honest, we’ve all been one of them at some point this semester. With the laptop haphazardly leaning on their knees, these students engage in class from the comfort of their own bed. They could choose to turn their video off, but instead, they decide to keep it on.
They are unashamed of who they are. Rather than throwing on nice clothes or moving to a secondary location, they embrace their quarantine outfits and dare the world to criticize them for it. Their alarm is most likely set for five minutes before class starts, and I’d bet you that they haven’t eaten a full meal since quarantine started. In short, they are my idols.
If you use a virtual background during your Zoom calls, it means two things: You are rich enough to own a computer capable of handling virtual backgrounds, and you have something to hide. Whether it is a messy room, embarrassing celebrity posters or unruly family members, virtual backgrounds conveniently shield peers from seeing the truth of a student’s surroundings.
If your background is a beach, a meme or a pattern of colors, you desperately want to escape the monotony of quarantine life, and nobody in the world can blame you for that. Or you’re on the run for tax evasion. Either is fine.
Black Screen Brutes
The last, and undoubtedly bravest, group of zoomers are the black screen brutes. With their cameras turned completely off, these students refuse to bow down to the expectations of school life during quarantine. Surely lying in bed or using their phone to listen in on class, these students are often the ones who contribute the most to class discussion.
Even if you can’t see them, their voices are heard and their stances on class issues are heavily defended. The sight of their name on a black screen might seem lackluster, but the absence of a video rarely means a lack of participation. These students are not letting anything, even quarantine, slow them down.