Zoom’s pretty sick.
Yes, it sucks that my education no longer involves trips to art museums or flipping through century-old manuscripts at the Beinecke. It sucks that I don’t get to hug my classmates hi and bye. It sucks that I can’t come into my professors’ cozy offices under the pretense of “office hours” and chat about life over a cup of coffee. We didn’t sign up for online classes. None of us did.
Regardless, Yale online starts next week. And though the world is in a dark place right now, Zoom, the video conferencing technology nearly all universities are hopping on now, does offer a bit of a bright spot (I swear I’m not a paid employee or own any Zoom stocks!!! I’m just a fan!) For example: If you haven’t yet discovered the virtual background function on Zoom, you’re welcome–my background of Chris Evans shirtless brought smiles and laughter to many of my friends these past two weeks. The skin-smoothing button actually works. Time for group work? Zoom’s got you covered, with their breakout room function. And the memes Zoom has spawned, courtesy of Zoom Memes for Self Quaranteens on Facebook has provided a wealth of quarantainment (quality entertainment + quarantine).
Me and the love of my life, C-Evans.
a Tag Yourself gem on the meme page.
A tweet that will be very relevant next week.
But using any form of online class will be, inevitably, disruptive. Already in Zoom meetings, I’ve been interrupted by my mother handing me cut fruit, or yelling at me for spending too much time glued to the screen. My friend’s four-year-old sister, who is in her ferocious fours grabby phase, runs into her room and throws a temper tantrum when no one pays attention to her. My other friend’s dog aggressively barking interrupts his fervent prayer for our campus. When President Salovey first announced we were moving online, I did not imagine a way forward with some sort of school would even be possible.
But now, I have hope, mainly thanks to my professors, some of whom have been incredibly kind and understanding. Professors from both of my majors—Theater Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration—have written us personally and asked us how we have been physically, mentally, and emotionally. They’ve also made accommodations regarding students’ varied time zones, home situations, and access to technology. One of my professors who also juggles being a single mother cancelled our online discussions noting that we are all managing stressful responsibilities at this time, and we will be proceeding solely using Canvas functions. Though I am deeply saddened I will not be able to see my professor and my classmates’ lovely faces regularly, I am grateful for her deep compassion, her modified syllabus, and her demonstrated trust in us to finish our final projects to the best of our ability, even if our papers are shorter than we originally planned.
It will be an adventure for the rest of my Zoom classes, including a lecture with a student count of over 200, and a seminar with a student count of 2 (not to mention a professor now unable to return to the US from her home country of Hungary). I shall keep you updated on any shenanigans that go down on Zoom.
Oh, and pro tip: your virtual background from your last Zoom meeting carries over. Proceed with caution.
Me pursuing my dream of being an astronaut thanks to Zoom University.
Me pursuing my other dream of fistbumping the Queen thanks to Zoom University.