Here are the 15 types of people you’ll encounter during your Zoom seminar this term

If you’re one of the ones who actually knows what’s going on, I hate you


With a new year starting, and many unis’ face-to-face teaching being cancelled once again for the foreseeable future, it can only be time for one thing: The return of the dreaded Zoom class.

On paper, it should all be fairly straightforward. We all log in when we’re meant to, the tutor shows us a PowerPoint, and we all take very diligent notes in time for our exams. Alas, that would be too easy.

Whichever lockdown persona you’ve decided to adopt these past few months, nowhere will it be more conspicuous than in your Zoom lecture. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who’s actually managed to keep studying throughout the pandemic, or chances are, like most of us, you’re lucky if you manage to get out of bed in time for your virtual class.

Below you’ll find a comprehensive guide of every person you’re likely to encounter in your Zoom 9am, because this is just how education works now…

The one who’s pretending to have connectivity issues to avoid participating

“Sorry!! My microphone isn’t working!!”, they type into the chat when the tutor nominates them to answer a question. We all know that’s a blatant lie. “I can try typing an answer??”, they follow up with, knowing full well nobody is going to waste ten minutes of the seminar waiting for them to offload their thoughts into the chat. They’ll repeat this tactic every class for the rest of the term, re-emerging only on the rare occasions when they actually bothered to do the reading.

The one who spent far too long getting ready

The seminar might not be until 10am but you’d best believe this one is setting an alarm for 7am so they can start their extensive morning routine in time for it. Their hair will be washed, blow dried and straightened, their eyeliner perfectly winged, and their outfit will have been diligently picked out the night before. They probably put perfume on for the occasion as well.

The one who didn’t spend long enough getting ready

Now fair enough, you’re working from home and you deserve to be comfortable, but the least you can do is actually get out of bed and get dressed in the morning. The camera quality might not be amazing but we can all still see that that’s a giant toothpaste stain you’ve got dribbling down your dressing gown. Pull yourself together and go and put some trousers on whilst you’re at it.

The one who spends the whole time texting

This person will 100% think they’ve finessed the system by keeping their phone out of the camera’s view. But looking down every couple of seconds and smiling to themselves? They’re fooling nobody. Don’t bother asking them to send their notes over at the end- I guarantee they won’t even know what the class was meant to be about.

The misaligned

You can never really tell if this one’s a massive technophobe, or genuinely just too lazy to tilt their webcam. Either way, you’ll spend the entire hour staring at either the top of their head or their stomach, and to be honest, I’m not sure which is worse.

The one with the silly background

Look at you, you joker. Your Zoom background is one of your uni’s most popular clubs? Hilarious. Wait, what do you mean you’re not really there? Well you had me fooled. Good one.

The one tuning in from an iPhone

Nothing gets in the way of this person carrying out their daily routine, not even the minor inconvenience of having actual contact hours to attend. Very clearly in the middle of something they think is much more important, this one will probably be walking about outside and only half paying attention to what’s going on.

The foodie

It doesn’t matter what time of day the class is taking place- this person will always be in the middle of some really elaborate meal that’s incredibly unsubtle to eat. Slurping spaghetti at 11am? Standard. Licking their fingers on camera after a really messy lunch? You bet they are. It’s not that this level of multitasking is a bad thing, it’s just that everyone else can’t help but be distracted when the glugging of a smoothie through a straw is picked up on the mic.

The “It’s five o’clock somewhere” one

This is just so bold. Imagine having the audacity to crack open a can on camera. We can see that’s not a Diet Coke, and the tutor definitely can as well.

The private chat fiend

You can always rely on that one friend you have in the seminar to absolutely abuse the private chat function. Typing smutty sweet nothings to you via DM, they’ll do everything they can to distract you from the seminar task at hand, or at the very least, visibly get the giggles on camera.

The annoying family member / flatmate cameo

Back in the first phase of lockdown when most of us were “home home”, there was always someone in the class whose Dad would emerge in the background of the Zoom- most likely in his pj’s shouting something really embarrassing. This term, it’ll be a similar setup, except this time, it’ll be one of your housemates shouting her latest really mortifying boy scandal for the whole of your class to hear.

The one with horrendous lighting

Please, for the love of all things holy on this earth, can people STOP sitting in front of their windows for classes. All we can see is glare. And on the flip side, if your house is on the darker side, please just turn a light on. With nothing but the harshness of your laptop screen to show us your face, you look like you’re about to run a séance.

The one who actually did the reading and will carry the entire seminar

Thank you so much, I love you. One day I’ll make it up to you. I’ll do anything. Well, anything except the reading in time for next week’s class.

The one who forgot to change their screen name back

Fair enough, last night on the Zoom quiz, it might have been good banter to change your name to something linked to one of your friendship group’s inside jokes. However, showing up to a seminar the following morning, visibly still hungover and bearing a screen name along the lines of “Zara McZaraface” is just going to make everyone else think you’re a bit odd.

The one whose only contribution is typing “Thank you!!” into the chat at the end

This one’s you, isn’t it?

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