Addressing Awkward Zooms

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap! 

As we come to a close on this past quarter, it seems fitting to reflect on the adjustments we all had to make in accordance with the pandemic. It was tough, it was easy, it was discouraging, it was chill, it was crappy, it wasn’t that bad, but overall, you have to admit… It was kind of awkward?

I mean think about it. In-person education quickly transitioned into online education. As students enrolled in different levels within various institutions, we had to adapt, we had to learn new ways about how to learn in new ways. 

Whether or not it was a synchronous or asynchronous class or a meeting, this is the most social interaction we’ll get for a while–– at least one form of social interaction we’ll get for a while. And it’s hard! Does anyone else feel like they lost their social skills and no longer know how to talk with those around you? Because me, I’m raising my hand. 

One thing we don’t have to really worry about in online education is knowing whether or not someone’s a catfish. I mean I guess you’ll never really know if someone always has a black screen and chooses not to show their video.

 

But another thing we’ve all been through and have experienced in an online setting is breakout rooms.

Zoom meeting with coffee Photo by Chris Montgomery from Unsplash

Awkward breakout rooms to be specific. 

I’m sure you’re here to figure out how to address awkward Zooms by the title of this article. But to be honest, I don’t even have a step-by-step formula or answer to this question myself. 

Just like the awkward silence from no one answering your Professor or TA or Director’s question as they awkwardly wait for one person to answer. Yeah, that’s this moment. I don’t have an answer. Here’s why.

  1. It depends

    Being put in a breakout room is the most random dice roll ever. You never know who you’ll get 20 minutes to speak to, to complain, to vent with. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even get put in a breakout room with that person you pinned. 

  2. Some people actually don’t care

    Sometimes being put in a breakout room is the best save and best 20 minutes ever to do something else other than talk about whatever it is you were told to talk about. It’s true- there are some people who don’t speak in a breakout room because they simply don’t want to. 

  3. This is still new to all of us 

    People either choose not to show their camera or don’t have access to one. I’d like to say this best depicts awkward breakout rooms. The silence that comes from the different screens further sets the mood. You know how some people can’t take a phone call? Or it’s hard for them to hold a conversation over the phone? Let alone a Zoom video call? It’s safe to say that this is new to all of us, this is our first time in a learning environment like this one, and although it’ll take some more effort and adjusting to, this is what our reality has now become.

Who knows when we’ll be able to return to in-person learning but there’s one thing I’ve heard throughout this whole time. This is our new normal.