The world has turned upside down, we’re barely allowed to leave the house, but we have to make the most of our fees, right? Enter the Zoom tutorial, stage left. There’s something bizarrely terrifying about being perceived in our home environments – because yes, your tutor is definitely judging you for that My Chemical Romance poster you’ve had on your wall since you were ten. Everyone has different methods of coping with the mortifying ordeal of being perceived, whether it’s drowning your sorrows or permanently ‘disabling’ your webcam with a hammer. Don’t be ashamed when you find yourself on this list. We’re all here somewhere. So, without further ado, OxYou presents: types of people in zoom tutorials.
The Rich One
After a healthy workout in your private gym and a leisurely morning dip in your private pool, you’re ready to work. You grab your 16” Macbook Pro (latest edition, of course) and your Nespresso coffee and head up to your spacious, air-conditioned private study for your next tutorial. Summer’s in the air, and you’re feeling good. The first thing your tutor says when you pick up the call is “Oh, I love the colour of your walls! Which Farrow & Ball colour is that?” – which you go on to discuss for half an hour, mainly because it’s a wine red (is it Incarnadine? Radicchio? Rectory Red?) and you’re feeling withdrawal from Port and Policy. The twenty books that were on the reading list this week are stacked up on your desk, because you ordered them from Amazon prime because you ‘prefer the feel of a real book, you know?’
It cost you over £200. You still get a 2:2.
The ‘Poor Connection’ One
We all know you. You haunt our every Zoom call. We’re midway through answering a question – badly, mind you – when that painful cyberman voice crackles across the airwaves. “What’s the question?” Question, question, question… It echoes across the call. We fall silent, our tutor braces to repeat the question- and then it echoes again, and you drop out entirely. This is an everyday occurrence. You’re so well accustomed to giving out your excuses on the group chat using 4G that the first suggestion on your keyboard is ‘my internet cut out again’. You’ve spent £50 on data this week alone. Your tutor’s most helpful suggestion is “Why don’t you move closer to the router?” The router is already in your room. The university’s ‘support for bad internet’ is a myth. You’re paying nine grand for that vaguely flesh-coloured pixel in place of your tutor’s face. Just pray you don’t get confused with…
The Horny One
We’ve all seen those Oxfesses, and we all feel that same twinge of fear when our tute partner’s camera and microphone go dark. We and our tutors look at each other in uncomfortable, mutually silent horror – “I’m sure they’re just having technical problems,” the tutor says finally. It doesn’t put us out of our misery. Whether you’re inflating your claims on Oxfess or you really are just that horny, your silence speaks volumes to us all. This publication sincerely hopes you’re not spending that nine grand a year on a wank, but you know. You do you.
Not even five minutes into our online class, you’re on the group chat cracking jokes like “We all look like [insert tutor’s name here]’s camgirls.” Cue a round of choked coughing from everyone who has the misfortune to be unmuted – “I might have corona,” we say sheepishly, when our tutor looks in askance. But we don’t have corona. You’re just that devil known as the class clown, trying to tempt your classmates into fits of hysterics. And what follows? It’s down to us to conceal the existence of the tutor-exclusive group chat, which they would secretly yearn to be a part of. You spend class splicing your peers’ faces over meme formats and you don’t regret a thing. Online Oxford would be a very dull place without you. However, there would be a danger of failing your degree entirely if it wasn’t for…
You’re mid-class. Your tutor sends a document to the group chat – which he endearingly calls the ‘chatbox’ – and everyone groans behind their muted microphones. “Please complete this exercise now,” those dreaded words that send horror through our hearts. No one has been listening. No one understands the material. That blinking cursor will continue to blink, and blink, and blink, taunting us with our failure. But wait – there are words appearing on the document. Blessed words, from someone who’s actually been listening! It’s you. You type away happily, ignorant of your classmates’ relief. Your tutor, being technologically inept, has shared an editable document! You truly are a godsend. And the best part? When your classmates start thanking you on the groupchat your tutor isn’t in, you keep going. You’re taking one for the team and it’s only a matter of time before you’re canonised, you saint of a human being.
The ‘It’s Happy Hour Somewhere’ One
Your tutorial is going smoothly, perhaps suspiciously smoothly. Groundbreaking ideas fall from your tongue like you’re the greatest orator since- well, you can’t remember who, but you’re doing brilliantly. Halfway through an extended soliloquy you take a sip of your drink. Then you cringe as you anticipate your tutor’s frown… It’s got far too many mini umbrellas in it to be a soft drink, and that was your mistake. You brace for a lecture – your first in several months, as the panopto recordings are gathering virtual dust on your desktop – but your tutor just smiles at you as they take a sip of their port. It’s 9:00 AM. You are both alcoholics.
You haven’t responded to a single email. You were last active on Facebook six days ago. Your tutor has forgotten your name. Do you exist at all? Do you only take physical form within the bounds of Oxford? College emails you, begging you to respond. It goes unanswered. There was a little green circle next to your name on zoom the other day, but you didn’t pick up the phone. You logged into Facebook to vote for bourbons on the Oxfess biscuit poll, and immediately dropped off the face of the earth again. But you’re smirking to yourself. What happens in Oxford stays in Oxford, you think, and that includes your degree. Nine grand is a small price to pay for peace and quiet.
Artwork by Eloise Fabre