How to not look like the FaceTime hamster
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
It’s officially September which means school begins and you’re living your life through a camera and screen. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though! Making the most of your time at home is all you can do to keep yourself sane right now (hey, think about all the saved gas and transit money!)
There are some flaws that you just can’t shake about online schooling. One being the feeling of being watched at all times. Then again, you’re watched in live classes too, but at least you usually know who’s looking at you. With online classes, someone can just minimize the professor to expand you to admire your beautiful face which is shamelessly highlighted by your phone screen as you pick your nose because you totally forgot you were in a class. Amateur move, brother.
First things first: your settings. Enabling HD is optional. Being low quality has its own perks: hides flaws and hangovers, doesn’t murder your computer, matches your personality, more privacy for your background. Mirroring your video will make looking at yourself more bearable but take note that everyone who’s ever looked at you has seen you inverted. You can lie to yourself and mirror your video, but it won’t erase inverted you from being the main version of yourself. Probably feel a bit like Doodle Bob right now, don’t you?
Heads up to check “Turn off my video when joining meeting” just to avoid embarrassing yourself. Yes, we get it—you’re late again—at least hide the fancy coffee before spotlighting it to your whole class. I love the attention, so my Spotlight setting is on, but if you fancy staying in the shadows feel free to check it off. There is a genuine downside though, which is that if you and someone else call out an answer at the same time, your professor will not see you and assume the credit to the person who they can see.
Onto my next point: what professors can’t see won’t hurt them (it’ll just hurt you! But that’s your decision to make, chief.)
Here’s me sneaking a phone selfie during class. Best part about it? No one knows.
That’s all it really takes. Keep your phone concealed, because not only is it rude to be blatantly distracted during class, but you’re also likely to miss participation marks for it. Turn your brightness down, and don’t keep it in your lap. Checking out your downstairs may work for Biology 101, but it won’t slide for any other class. Try these other poses instead.
I call this one “hiding in plain sight.” It’s a play on the classic phone-hidden-behind-textbook con. You stare at the computer screen, but you’re truly looking at your phone (and no one can see it!). Simple and genius.
Last but not least, I call this one the Hangover. Suited for hangovers and shifty eyes alike, it hides where you’re looking so you could even sleep (although that is not recommended). You could get creative and set up mirrors to angle your view to wherever you’d like, or wear a mask—perhaps a mask of your own face—why not have fun with it?