What kind of Teams classmate are you?

Body: 

Keerthi just started her masters and like most students a lot of her classes are digital. She distinguishes five kinds of classmates. ‘The Rory’, ‘the God’s gift to teachers’, ‘the certified train wreck’, ‘The tech-averse’ and ‘The mirror’. Which one are you?

New year, new program, same columnist. Let’s start off the year with a little levity, shall we? Oh, and, of course: any resemblance to actual people is entirely coincidental intended as either a compliment, or a thinly veiled wake-up call.

1.     The Rory

How do you do it? You’re the nicest, kindest, most helpful person I’ve ever met, and I’m only meeting you through a screen. You’re just as frustrated as the rest of us when it comes to tech hiccups, but you’re always five minutes early to class, always know what to say when you’re called on, and pixelated screen or not, I’m convinced that you somehow have no acne at all. Are you magic? Did you sell your soul? No, that can’t be it, because wow, I texted you with one question about the homework and you talked me through the solution and then sent me three different links to further reading. For someone who knows as much as you do, you’re the least conceited person I know - I have a bigger ego than you, and I barely know what I’m talking about half the time. Can we be friends?

2.     God’s gift to teachers

The world would be so lost without you. Or, you know, that’s what you think. That must be what you think, for you to talk during class as much as you do. What’s your angle here? Either you’re buttering up this professor to score an internship, or you genuinely believe that every question asked in class is an invitation to unmute your mic. Let’s be real: it’s week 2. All “being ahead of the curve” means right now is that the workload hasn’t caught up to you yet. Some of us aren’t quite as lucky, so the next time we get asked if anyone has questions, could you let someone ask a real one? That is, instead of your usual: “I’ve finished everything for this week, is there something else I can do?”

3.     Certified train wreck

Oh, man. I don’t know how many cups of coffee I’ve seen you chug in a two-hour period, because I lost count at around five. You, my friend, are the benchmark by which I judge my stability. Are you okay? Do you need someone to talk to? I can’t tell if the mismatched earrings you’re wearing are meant to match the food stain on your t-shirt, but it’s a good look nonetheless. Yesterday you asked me if I knew what the syllabus meant by “active participation,” and whether it involved sports. I wish so badly that I could be you, especially because when you do raise your hand, you say something wildly profound that makes everyone do a double-take. You are so unapologetically yourself, down to the pile of laundry on your desk chair that you push off to the side so that you have room to sit. Keep doing you.

4.     The tech-averse

You poor thing. I wish I could just wrap one of those orange shock blankets around you and tell you everything’s going to be okay. I’m pretty sure it would help more than fifteen different voices yelling “your mic is muted!” every two seconds. But, yeah, no, your mic is definitely muted. Who can blame you, though? You’re the victim here. You probably haven’t even managed to figure out the Word autosave function yet, which means you exist in a constant state of paranoia that you’re going to lose all your work. Teams is basically your worst nightmare come to life. What’s a share tray? How did you just mute everyone in the call? Why can’t you un-raise your hand? Hang in there, bud. Chances are your professor’s in the same boat.

5.     The mirror

I get it. Believe me, I do. This is way more work than you were expecting, even though you thought you’d done your due diligence choosing a program that was right for your skill level. Everyone seems to know what they’re doing, but you feel like you’re at sea, and you’re terrified that this is just how the next two years are going to feel. Listen, I know what it’s like to have imposter syndrome banging down your door every two seconds. I know how demotivating it is to be surrounded by people who seem like they’re completely unfazed. But they aren’t; I, for one, am deeply, deeply fazed. But you earned your spot here, and even if it takes a little getting used to, you’ll find your place in all this chaos.

 

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