Four Situations More Awkward Than Breakout Room Icebreakers

By Courtesy of Lifetime TV

Picture this: it’s 8:59 a.m. on a Monday morning and you just woke up when you realize class starts in one minute. You lean over to grab your hoodie from the previous day(s) and slide it over your head, simultaneously powering up your laptop and frantically digging through Canvas to find the Zoom link for class. As you sink back into the comfort of your sheets you’re greeted with many tiny squares displaying the professor, a couple enthusiastic students who have clearly woken up at least fifteen minutes prior to class (and are already caffeinated), and of course, those like you: camera off with a perpetual “connecting to audio…” You’re trying your best to remain in a vertical position when suddenly your worst nightmare is realized: someone (perhaps the professor? Words and voices are a blur at this point) says the words, “let’s go into breakout rooms and do a little icebreaker.”

But fear not. Here’s a list of four social situations that are even more awkward than breakout room icebreakers, to make you feel better about that not-so-fun fact you just accidentally told ten other strangers.

1. The irl Yard run-ins

Let’s face it—we’ve forgotten how to talk to people. No, TikTok duets don’t count. And neither does dropping memes in the GroupMe at 3 a.m. Meeting people on campus this semester has been… interesting, to say the least. Wave at a friend and get ignored because they don’t recognize you in a mask? Jump into conversations with complete strangers under the pretense of thinking they are someone else? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Or the worst. You decide.

2. Unexpected realities

We get it, people look very different from the shoulders up in a tiny square on a Zoom call than they do in person. Was someone emanating 6-foot-3-inch vibes but ended up being 5 feet in person? Admit it, we’ve all been there. Just try not to tell them to their face. “Johnny! So nice to finally meet you! You’re so short!” never plays out too well.

3. Ghosting gone wrong

If you’re on campus this semester, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into people you know (in those rare instances you leave the shelter of your dorm), especially near hotspots like the dining halls or test drop-offs. But does that mean you want to hang out with them? Not necessarily. “Wanna grab lunch?” “No, sorry, I have class in a few…” There you are ten minutes later, locking eyes with them across the steps of Widener as you devour your latest HUDS meal, clearly not mid-Zoom lecture. Or maybe you were. You do you, little warrior.

4. Zoom… situations

The only thing worse than Zoom icebreaker breakout rooms is… more Zoom. Perhaps you’re an excessively eager Zoomer and hop on the lecture call a few minutes early, only to be trapped in a room with the professor and two TF’s of the course discussing the telepathic abilities of their cats. Or maybe you were just sprinkling the final touch of seasoning on your instant ramen during section, when the TF asks you directly what you thought about that point Maxwell just made regarding philosophical dualism. And arguably the winner of them all: you’re preparing for your audition with America’s Got Talent by screeching Taylor Swift’s latest album at the top of your lungs, when the professor patiently reminds the class to please mute themselves. It’s no surprise that Ec10a never saw your (virtual) face again.

Long story short, icebreaker breakout sessions aren’t the absolute worst thing you may experience throughout the Zoom college experience. In fact, they’re arguably up there with the positives (at least you get to meet new people… ?). And hey, on the even brighter side, you’re getting closer and closer to acing that audition for America’s Got Talent with every muted Zoom lecture. At least, that’s what the professor said last time ;)

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