Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Illustration by Sylvia Lopez

Stories from Zoom purgatory

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, October 28 2021—

By now, everyone has their own experience with virtual classes, meetings and interviews. We’ve had to experience loss of connection, terrible internet providers, laggy video and static voices. But what if I were to tell you there was another type of experience? It’s not quite the hell that comes with technology when being overused, but it also doesn’t run smoothly, either. I present to you, the stories from Zoom purgatory. 

If you don’t know what this is then count yourself lucky. Usually reserved for the students who never participate, or who venture to keep their screens blank, ending up in Zoom purgatory is not a straightforward endeavour. You don’t notice it at first, but when you enter this limbo, everything seems to be running just the same as usual.

One moment your professor is droning on about a TopHat question or a complicated concept and suddenly you look up and the only two people present are you and the professor. You try to send a message over the chat function but it never sends. You helplessly try to turn on your mic and get their attention but the button is gone and your prof has yet to notice. You know this is the appropriate slot and lectures are recorded, so why is no one else here? 

You think sending a message to the class discord might alleviate your concerns but you can’t find the server anymore — it’s as if you never joined. You can tell your professor is reaching the end of the lecture and is ready to ask questions.

Not one to usually participate, you try to leave the meeting but as you hit the red button, you notice how the Zoom window has closed but the audio hasn’t stopped. You try to force stop the program on your computer but the task manager has never been your friend. In an effort to end it all, you force shut down your computer and decide that’s enough Zoom for the day. 

When the next lecture rolls around, nobody mentions what happened, and you just brush it off as computer problems. The fear of falling into that position again has settled in you so every now and then you ask questions in lecture and participate a little more than you’re comfortable with just to make sure you haven’t fallen back into Zoom purgatory.

If the professor interacts with your questions or someone mentions your pet walking by your camera when it’s on, then you know you’re safe and still in normal Zoom.

This article is part of our humour section.


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