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6 awkward video conferencing moments university students can relate to

Online learning
Here’s why online learning may be the best thing that could have happened to you. Source: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP

Video conferencing apps such as Zoom have become a staple for university students all over the world, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It now serves as the primary mode of communication as lockdowns are in place, and as learning shifts online

Like everything that happens without proper training in place for students (and sometimes, even with loads of training beforehand), it’s led to some hilarious and sometimes awkward situations for university students, if social media is anything to go by.

Here are some for you to LOL to:

Being the first one in ‘class’

There’s something different about being the first student to enter a classroom, versus being the first student to enter a meeting with just your lecturer present. 

Turns out the latter can be agonising when none of your tardy classmates can make it to “class” on time, leaving you and the lecturer making awkward but polite small talk to kill the time until the rest of your peers start filling in.

Forgetting to mute your mic


The option to mute and un-mute your mic on apps such as Zoom is godsend.

However, the trouble begins when you forget to mute your mic when there are potentially embarrassing conversations from family members or even housemates going on in your background.

A loud fart, a screaming match between your family members or your housemates discussing an embarrassing health problem? Your classmates and lecturers don’t need – and don’t want – to hear about it.

Who speaks first?

*Several students speak simultaneously*

“Oops, sorry you go-” “No, sorry -” “I was just about to say…”

Conversation lapses into a long, awkward silence when no one can decide who should speak first.

Impatiently waiting to click the ‘leave meeting’ icon


Do you find yourself preparing to leave the video call as quickly as possible once your class is drawing to a close by hovering your mouse over the ‘leave meeting’ icon to avoid going through awkward and prolonged goodbyes?

It’s OK, you’re not the only one.

Embarrassing backgrounds

Be it a bra that’s hanging on your doorknob to the family member who has a habit of walking around the house in their pajamas – or worse – in their underwear or birthday suit, video conferencing isn’t merely just about ensuring that you’re paying attention to those on the call, but also to the individuals in your home who may make accidental and sometimes, embarassing, cameos in your video call.

Sharing your screen


It’s the ultimate video conferencing fail when a classmate or lecturer shares their screen, only to forget to remove private or embarrassing folders or pictures on their desktop.

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