Aisha O’Malley, Women’s and Minorities Officer
A day in the life of my lockdown looks a little bit like this: eat, uni work, sleep, repeat. I’m sure this is what lockdown looks like for a lot of us, stuck in a monotonous, Groundhog Day routine. In a life where the four walls around me don’t change, and I haven’t left my property since lockdown started, I really need some sort of creative outlet. This is where Zoom backgrounds truly shine.
Let’s face it; coronavirus has got us all down in the dumps. Instead of heading to lectures on campus with all my friends, I’m stumbling to my Zoom classes bleary-eyed, finishing my last slice of toast as I say hello, only just changed out of my pyjamas (on the top half). Then, I log on to see a bunch of similarly tired students scrolling through their phones. However, the one thing that gives me a burst of hope is when I see a bright flash of colour pop up. I ask myself, “Is she really going to class on the beach?” Then I realise: no, she’s just doing a funky Zoom background. Not only is this a fun and fresh change of pace from my own four familiar walls, but it reminds me of the exciting world out there that we are waiting to get back to.
No longer do I have to dream about going to New York; suddenly, I’m in the middle of Times Square while I learn about how to apply GST in Accounting. My Spanish classes take place in Barcelona; my Latin American studies are in Mexico. While the pandemic may have stolen our chances to travel, it cannot take our imagination or excitement.
As much as Zoom backgrounds brighten my day, not seeing them is also a truly depressing sight. House stalking is truly not very exciting. I get it: we all have vaguely white walls and sit in the part of our house, which isn’t embarrassing. However, viewing the Zoom backgrounds everyone has chosen for the day is a much better distraction for anyone who zones out.
Choose excitement and fun – choose Zoom backgrounds.
Celine Goh, First-Year Representative
After four weeks of quarantine, my room looks pretty atrocious. There is hair scattered across my table from when I tried to cut myself a fringe, and dozens of abandoned crochet projects lie limply around the place. Although it may be tempting to hide all this mess with an aesthetic Zoom background come class time, I’m going to prove why doing so does a disservice to not only yourself but also to society as a whole.
Firstly, showing lecturers your room instead of a generic Zoom background can actually boost your GPA. Yes, it seems like a bit of a stretch but let’s look at it from the lecturer’s perspective: pre-COVID, students are just nameless data-points amongst hundreds of other disappointing results. Zooms however, humanises students by giving lecturers a glimpse into your personal life. They see family portraits, high school trophies, and wishful crochet attempts in the background. Humanisation results in lecturers looking at you more favourably- perhaps when it comes time to market Spanish assignments they may even ignore the fact that you pronounced “hola” as “hole-lay” and give you a pass out of pity.
But let’s say your professor is heartless and doesn’t give sympathy grades? You need to start preparing straight away, and the best way to do so is strategic lecture-watching locations.
Step 1: Find the dirtiest, mouldiest part of your house.
Step 2: Watch all lectures from this spot, making sure to turn up the contrast so the suspicious blue patch above your head is clearly noticeable.
Step 3: Right before exams, send your lecturer an aegrotat application citing “lung-infection caused by fungus.”
Step 4: Get the automatic pass.
Once again, not using the Zoom golden-gate-bridge background has become your GPA saviour.
Lastly, being open about the fact that you’re not doing well during quarantine is precisely what society needs right now. Our Facebooks are constantly inundated by posts from yo-pros boasting about the six new start-ups they’ve founded in the past four weeks and fitness bloggers announcing that anyone who isn’t 10kg lighter by the end of quarantine is a lazy disappointment. Social media has built up this myth that anyone who is struggling amidst this global pandemic is a failure. Refusing to hide the evidence of your midnight stress-eat using a zoom façade is the first step towards tearing down this harmful narrative.