Photo credit: YOUTHOPIA

Five Zoom meeting experiences we all had during the pandemic

A throwback to some of the best and worst parts about working or learning from home.

Tricia Kuan

A tiny coffee addict with a really weird frog obsession.

Published: 7 January 2022, 5:49 PM

As we adjusted to life in a global pandemic, shifting to online platforms such as Zoom for work or school quickly became the new normal. 

We’ve all had our fair share of mishaps and shared moments that have defined Zoom culture and etiquette as we know it today. 

Here are five things you might have experienced on Zoom.

1. Having fun with virtual backgrounds and filters

It’s undeniable that one of the iconic features of Zoom has been its customisable virtual backgrounds, which quickly became a form of amusement and self-expression.

These backgrounds add a whole new level of vibrancy and personalisation to Zoom meetings, with many customising their virtual backgrounds based on their favourite games, shows and more. 


One of the more notable themed backgrounds that emerged in 2021 were pictures of the set from popular Netflix series, Squid Game. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA


Playing around with Augmented Reality (AR) filters has also become a big part of the Zoom experience. If you’ve ever wondered how your classmate or co-worker turned up to a meeting as a potato, Snap Camera was one of the applications that could add such filters to your web camera for a more entertaining call.

2. Dressing up for a presentation… from the waist up

When you’ve been in the comforts of your home all day, getting all dressed up for a short presentation may feel like a hassle. 


Part of the work-from-home experience includes dressing the part for online meetings and presentations. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA


For those of us who are reluctant to change out of our comfortable shorts or sweatpants, Zoom meetings have been a game changer. Since only our top halves can be seen on camera, we can easily get away with just putting on a more formal shirt.

It’s a luxury that we might have taken for granted when we were working from home. But as we slowly transition back to working in the office, don’t forget to have proper attire at the ready.

3. Being called out for not muting your microphone

You might have found yourself in this situation before. You’re in a meeting jamming out to one of your favourite songs, or talking to a family member, only to realise that you’ve been unmuted the entire time.

If that is not mortifying enough, the host of the meeting has to politely remind everybody to refrain from interrupting the meeting. Talk about embarrassing.


One of the unspoken rules about online meetings is to be muted unless you are talking. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA


On the bright side, you’re definitely not the first or the last person to experience this. And if there’s anything you’ll take away, it will be the habit of checking that you’re muted at all times in your future meetings.

4. Experiencing lag during an important call

One of the issues that often crop up in the middle of Zoom meetings is lag. 

Cue the standard freezing up of videos or voices getting cut off. This is made all the more frustrating for those with a chronically unstable internet connection.


One way to combat unstable connection in Zoom is to use your phone’s data instead of connecting to your wifi. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/TRICIA


Though we are all accustomed to it, that doesn’t make it any less panic-inducing, especially if it happens during an important call or presentation. After all, who knows what important information you might miss out on?

Just remember that if you have a friend who is constantly lagging during Zoom meetings, be sure to help them by filling them in on what they’ve missed.

5. Having the most awkward goodbyes until the host ends the meeting

As if we didn’t have enough awkward interactions face-to-face, we might experience more cringe-inducing moments online.

Other than lengthy silences, or accidentally speaking at the same time as another colleague, one of the most uncomfortable moments has got to be when the meeting draws to a close.


Ending a Zoom call consists of many cheerful goodbyes and waves. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA


Scrambling to leave a meeting once it has ended is surprisingly quite the struggle. 

Those few seconds between saying your goodbyes and logging off can seem to stretch for an eternity. And a stilted one at that.

As we soon return to school or office, we can at least take comfort in knowing that parting from our friends and colleagues in real life could never be as awkward as it is virtually.

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