extremely online

There are exactly 12 types of people in a break out room. Question is, which one are you?

Not everyone can be the fit mysterious one


Nothing sucks the life and soul out of a student quite like a break out room. They are hell on earth and totally awkward from start to finish. Break out rooms are one of the worst parts of being a uni student – I don’t think I will ever not feel an immediate sense of dread when my lecturer says “let’s divide up into break out rooms.” It’s traumatic.

I would honestly rather drink a cup of cold sick than go into another break out room. Okay, maybe that was a little bit dramatic – but they are genuinely awful. You can guarantee there will always be someone that’s too keen and speaks too much. Or there will be the complete opposite, someone who doesn’t speak at all and has both their camera and microphone off. But you know you’re really unlucky when you get thrown into a break out room with one of your Tinder matches. Now do you understand how horrendous they are? If the devil had kids, I can guarantee they’d be called Break-out and Room.

To be fair, I probably wouldn’t despise break out rooms so much if the people in them weren’t so predictable and annoying. Lectures are bearable because students have cameras off and they’re always on mute, but in smaller groups they have the audacity to gain enough confidence to turn everything on? Ugh. Here’s the 12 different types of students you’ll encounter in a break out room:

1. The one with unstable connection

I know they can’t help their bad connection, I get that working from home can be tricky at times. But my God, please can they stop coming back to the room every time they drop connection?

2. The one with no camera or mic turned on

Does this person even exist? Why am I just starring at a random name and black rectangle on my screen? Is anyone even there? Who knows. This person could easily just have logged on and left to go somewhere or crawled back into bed. They’re a total mystery.

3. The designated leader

You absolutely love to hate this student. They’re like a shitty carbon copy of your lecturer and they’ll steal any chance they get to lead the seminar. It’s high key a blessing, especially if you need to give group feedback because they’re like your designated spokesperson too but it doesn’t stop them from being jarring as fuck.

4. The one who treats it as a cigarette break

Look, nobody’s perfect and we all have our vices. You can’t knock a student for wanting a cigarette break mid break out room – they are quite stressful situations to be in. That being said, it’s not the best when you’re in a pair and they’re leaning halfway our their bedroom window soaking up the nicotine fumes.

5. The one with a weird virtual background

It’s normally an outdated meme or a weird photo they took from their trip abroad back in 2018.

6. The one who treats it as a lunch break

I don’t condone violence, I really don’t. But, in the words of Ben Mitchell from Eastenders, “you need slapping down” if you’re going to start smacking your lips and loudly chewing your way through your microphone.

7. The one who loves to go off topic

Surprisingly, I have no qualms with this person. In my eyes, they’re taking one for the team and driving us away from academic burnout. I respect them a lot and I think they don’t get enough recognition.

8. The fit, mysterious one

If you don’t have a fit, mysterious one then you’re definitely on a notoriously clapped course. You thought I was going to say “If you don’t have a fit, mysterious one then you’re the fit one” – didn’t you? You wish, love.

9. The one in bed

Break out room time is not an excuse to nap. Although she looks so peaceful, I might let her rest for a little bit longer.

10. The one who brings their pet to the camera

Now I know that I am speaking for every single student here when I say: “I don’t give a single toss about your cat.” Nothing is worse than the students who have cats jumping up onto their desk and then they play it cool as if the cat decided to do that itself. We all know you have been tapping the table for the last ten minutes to try and get the cat up there with you – grow up.

11. The heavy breather

Since starting a new lifestyle on Zoom, I’ve noticed that I have become so sensitive to sound. After a long day of online classed and endless small talk in break out rooms, the last thing I want to hear is heavy breathing. It makes me absolutely seething – I don’t want to hear it.

12. The one you matched with on Tinder

So awkward. When I get locked in a break out room with an old match I want my bedroom floor to open up and swallow me whole.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

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

• It’s time someone said it: Zoom group calls are exhausting and we should be done with them

• This is how to get out of all those Zoom calls without hurting anyone’s feelings