True confessions of online learning

It's amazing what really happens on our side of the screen when we're in the virtual classroom. Shh, don't tell anyone....

Student at a laptop during an online video meeting Photo: Jagrit Parajuli

It’s safe to say that the shift to online school has opened up an entirely new educational experience for all of us. School this year has been a little bit like the wild west of university—lawless and unpredictable—but we’re all figuring it out together.

With that being said, going to class online has given us more than a few opportunities for in-class shenanigans. Here are some (anonymous) confessions from your fellow classmates about what they’ve been getting up to behind muted mics.

This is embarrassing to admit, but there’s a really cute guy in one of my classes, and sometimes I’ll pin him on Zoom so that his face takes up the entire screen. Hey, at least I’m paying attention.

“On days when I have synchronous classes, I put on a full face of makeup, not because I want to look good for the people in my class, but because I know that I’m just going to be staring at my own face the whole time, so I want to look good.”

In some classes, I’ll keep my camera off and mute myself and just go off and do other things. I’ve made more than a few full meals while I was ‘in class’.

“The one rare time I had my mic on to do my part of a presentation, I forgot to turn the mic off and when I finished my part of the presentation, let a big burp out. Still trying to figure out if anyone heard/knew it was me...”

With online school, there’s a lot more ‘busy work, to get done at your own time’ assignments that take time away from doing bigger projects or catching up on lecture notes. So I just do the busy work during class with my camera and mic off.

“In my class that goes until 5:30 on Thursdays, I turn my camera off and mute myself as I put on makeup and get ready for Splitties. No shame.”

Games I have played during lecture with camera/mic off: 1) Animal Crossing, 2) Harry Potter Puzzles & Spells, 3) Fortnite (I listen, I swear).

“One time, our class was having a chill conversation that didn’t involve schoolwork, so I took a little nap...only to wake up to tons of messages that my name was brought up and the prof was trying to talk to me. They assumed my connection was bad, I went with their assumption and went right back to sleep.”

I use the bathroom at least once every online lecture, and I know you do too! There is something very strange about listening to people who have dedicated their whole life to a subject, while nude from the waist down relieving yourself. But not strange enough to stop.

“I have done workouts while I’m ‘in class’ because I can’t focus on class anyways.”

I’ve only worn the same two pairs of pants for the past month. It’s not like anyone can tell.

“I had a professor who would put us in breakout groups of two or three during our synchronous classes on Collaborate. I was put into a breakout group with two of my closest friends so, naturally, we got distracted very quickly. We started talking about a particular very explicit podcast (you can probably guess which one) we listen to, going into detail (the breakout groups aren’t recorded, so we thought we were safe). Somehow, I missed the notification that my group was ending and returning me to the main room, so I just kept talking, and for 30 seconds the entire class heard me. I seriously considered dropping the class after that.”

Sometimes I pretend my camera is broken so my prof and classmates won’t see me completely zoned out in class. It’s not that I don’t want to pay attention, it’s that, after a few hours of staring at faces on a screen, I physically can’t anymore.

So what do you want to confess? Drop your secrets into the comments below.