“When you start wishing you could mute the people you’re quarantined with…”

23 Funny & Relatable Realities of Remote Learning

By now, most of us have probably experienced the awkward five seconds of continuous goodbyes while everyone struggles to find the “leave meeting” button at the end of class. Whether learning from home, from a nearly-deserted campus, or from other remote environments, online learning has brought with it a new set of challenges and frustrations, as well as some entertaining moments. Below, students and faculty share some of the humorous realities they’ve experienced during remote learning.  


Zoom: A Love/ Hate Relationship


1. Professor to student: “Hey [insert student name], hey you’re muted! Yeah we can’t hear you.” 


2. When you have to present your thesis/capstone project over Zoom, but at least now you can read from a script. 


3. That awkward moment when the professor asks a question but everyone is muted and clearly wasn’t paying attention to what the prof was saying. 


4. When you go to “class” on time but you’re the first person there and you and your prof both just sit there in painful silence. 


5. “When you’re technically on time to a meeting but just got out of the shower and are still getting dressed. So you buy yourself a few extra minutes with: “Yes, I’m here. My camera just doesn’t seem to be working right now…”


When things don’t go according to plan…


6. And you accidentally share the wrong screen so the whole class is suddenly looking at pictures of your love life. 


7. You know times have changed when your study abroad prof introduces your Anthropology course with: “Welcome to my bedroom. I never thought I’d say that to any student in my lifetime, let alone to one hundred and thirty of you. But here we are…”


Pets and… New Alarms?


8. Not setting an alarm can seem like a welcome respite from your daily routine… until your cat decides to wake you up by dropping a gecko onto your face. 


9. When your professor is more interested in your cat than your education or wellbeing and starts asking “Where’s your cat?” instead of “How are you?” so you decide to lock the cat outside.


Family Interventions


10. Literally every time you’re in online class, your sister comes up to you and mouths: “ARE YOU IN CLASS RIGHT NOW?” and you’re just like “YES what do you think, I’m talking to Netflix?!”


11. When your classmates’ parents stop and wave at the camera every time they walk by. 


12. When you’re recording a presentation over zoom and your brother clears his throat in the background but it totally sounds like you farted. 


Snacking in Class


13. When someone’s tearing into a bag of chips and seems utterly clueless that everyone can hear them. (Like seriously? That’s what the “mute” button is for!)


Teaching with Kids


14. When you have to excuse yourself from class because your kid can’t find their sandwich. 


15. Somehow you learn to hold up a perfectly respectable discussion via Google Hangouts while your daughter is somehow simultaneously screaming, sobbing, and running around your apartment. 


16. When your four-year-old thinks he’s a celebrity and takes every opportunity to appear on camera when you’re teaching class. 


17. Introducing: VIRTUAL BACKGROUNDS, critical to hiding the chaos going on behind you.


April Snowstorms


18. When you lose power and your students are left wondering why their prof just vanished from class.


Time Zones & Technology


19. When you forget to hit “record” before your hour-and-a-half live lecture and have to redo the lecture all over again after teaching class. 


20. When you miss your meeting because you failed to clarify which time zone your group was using. 


21. When your wifi’s bad and you’re trying to meet with a professor but neither of you can understand what the other is saying and both of your screens are frozen, so you decide it’s probably best to just “leave meeting.”


22. When Bates comes out with new virtual backgrounds but your laptop’s too outdated to use any of them. 


Playing to your own tune


23. When you’ve been playing the wrong chord for your entire music lesson but your instructor thought it was just the poor connection on Zoom that was making things sound off. 


This semester has certainly been filled with a whole lot of “ch-ch-ch-ch-changes,” as David Bowie would say. But as Maya Angelou once said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Hopefully some of these laughable moments can help!



Thank You

Many thanks to Emma Proeitti (21), Grace Baker (21), Trisha Kibugi (21), Yueh Qi (22), Owen Keleher (22), Katia Ryan (23), Joshua Rubin (Lecturer in Anthropology, Africana, & American Studies), Mike Rocque (Associate Professor of Sociology), and others for their contributions.