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Top 10 classmates you meet in Zoom breakout rooms

The professor may be stalling, but we’re bonding.

<p>Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.</p>

Ben Rosenthal is a Top 10 Writer for The Cavalier Daily.


1. The overly peppy discussion leader

They are awake. They are well-dressed and well-styled. They are in charge, and you are OK with it. They do 80 percent of the talking. They call on people to speak. They pretty much dominate the conversation with their point of view. And you are also OK with this because they are willing to take notes, too. They are willing to screen share. They are willing to go first in the silly Zoom icebreaker your professor is still assigning nine weeks into the year. In conclusion, they are God’s gift. 

2. The black screen

Perhaps the laziest variant of all the lovely people you will meet is the black screen. This person probably turned their camera off four minutes into the lecture portion and is currently halfway through the Bodo’s Bagels line. Bonus points if this person is actually present and talking, but unwilling to show you their darn face. Look, it’s not like I look amazing either. It’s 10 a.m. and we’ve all given up, but please, let me see a human face. Please, I’m so lonely.

3. Mr. “Technology Problems”

First, they cannot speak. Then, when they can speak, it is only to say, “Can everybody hear me?” You tell them that, yes, you can hear them. But now, they cannot hear you. They log out and back on again. Now the audio is all fixed. But wait — they are having network connectivity issues. This person’s only personality trait is that their computer hates them — and they hate it back.

4. “Wait, we had readings?”

In sharp contrast to the overly peppy discussion leader is our friend here who didn’t even know there was a reading to discuss. Instead, they spend half of the breakout room complaining about how the professor assigns too much work, as if they would do any of it anyways. Also, they think that the midterm was way too hard and that a few of the questions weren’t even mentioned in lecture.

5. Those two people who clearly know each other 

“Hey Jack,” one of them says with a smirk. “Hey Nick,” replies the other, grinning ear to ear. You can see their fingers typing through the camera, laughing at whatever they’re writing in their private chat. You know that they aren’t talking about you, because why would they? You’re just a person in a breakout room like everybody else. But at the same time, they’re definitely talking about you and you know it. 

6. The one with the talkative mom

There is nothing like taking Zoom classes from home, as most of us learned first hand last semester. While a good amount of students are back in Charlottesville, there are still quite a few of us back home. And you know how it goes — in exchange for the home-cooked meals and unconditional love, you have to have at least seven embarrassing parent cameos in the background of your Zoom calls per semester. It’s in the fine print.

7. The body language expert

This person is a genius. They want to look like they are participating without actually having to do so. How do they pull it off? They are always the first to nod their head to a solid point or give a thumbs up to a suggestion. Occasionally, they’ll even pepper in a subtle “yes” to a remark. They’ll never once suggest an original thought, but by the time the call ends, you’ll feel like you really got to know them.

8. The guy calling from inside Buffalo Wild Wings

It’s 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. Yet here this guy is, clearly attending lecture from inside of a Buffalo Wild Wings. He is there with at least six or seven friends, watching whatever basketball game is broadcast at a Buffalo Wild Wings at 3:30 p.m. on a Wednesday. And — to his credit — he is clearly having a good time. He doesn’t have a mask on, but if you’re eating at Buffalo Wild Wings, you have clearly given up on maintaining bodily health a long time ago. He contributes nothing, but he has an inherent likability. 

9. The one who is way too comfortable in bed

Full disclosure — I attend 75 percent of my classes from bed. But because I am a man of class and status, I at least sit up straight. I have run into a number of people, however, who are visibly lying on their backs with their laptop on their stomach, and it just makes me so … jealous? I want to get to the point in my life where I can publicly broadcast that level of giving up without feeling shame. One day.

10. You

Last but not least, there is you. “Me? But I’m normal,” you insist. Wrong. In Zoom breakout rooms, we are all abnormal. You are the weird side character in someone else’s breakout room story. No matter how much you want to doubt it, you are just another part of the carnival of horrors that is the University, online edition.