What will it take to show your face?!


“MacBook Air” by Daniel Dudek is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pilar Gomes

Since  COVID-19 started taking over our daily routines and making itself present not only in our social lives but also in our school lives, we’ve found ourselves constantly on screens. When we wake up and open our computers it seems like our whole world is online. Virtual school has brought many possibilities as well as many new problems that our generation must deal with. Many of us don’t have any social interaction besides our families which can lead to a feeling of isolation. That is why when WESS became fully remote many were upset with the possibility that school would be nearly impossible without the social aspect. 

At the beginning of the year, our teachers told us that turning our cameras on was almost necessary and they would expect to see our faces every day. However, as school continued, this rule became more and more relaxed. I remember the first day of school almost everyone’s cameras were on, but now as I head into my classes I will be lucky to see five students’ faces. 

Some kids turn off their cameras in every class, some have their cameras on in every class, and others only pick a few classes to turn their cameras on for. 

When I asked a fellow Junior what classes she is most likely to turn off her camera in, she said chemistry because she wants to focus instead of staring at herself. Our vanity can be distracting, especially in classes like chem which really require one’s full attention. 

When I asked an unnamed student, she said she keeps her camera off in gym and art because she doesn’t want people seeing her workout or drawing. The issue with Zoom is that you are extremely aware of the way that people perceive you. While we all had to workout in front of each other when school was in person, we are suddenly so aware of how we might look to others. This presents a need to find a  balance between continuing to do the activities, as well as staying confident on Zoom. 

Finally, when I asked Nina Pappas ’22, she said that she is most likely to turn off her camera in classes in the morning. Similarly, I am more reluctant to turn on my camera in the morning because I am either in bed or look disgusting. 

I am forgetting the most common reason why students turn their cameras off: they’re off task. You would be lying if you said you have not been distracted on your phone at least once since school started. It is just too easy to be off task. However, if our cameras are on they can see us use Snapchat quickly or peep Charli D’Amelio dancing in the background. 

When we feel the need to participate, we turn on our cameras and give our full attention to the teachers. On other days, we just want to relax and go to BuzzFeed. When I brush my hair and do my makeup I am more than happy to turn on my camera, but when I have a pimple the size of a mountain, not so much. There’s this weird conflict between wanting to participate while also needing a break, and it’s something that we need to navigate together. COVID-19 has given all of us new experiences and problems that we must deal with. In this strange world, it is easy to feel isolated, so turn your camera on when you can. Some days you just need to be in bed with your pimple cream but, overall, you should try to make school feel a little more normal.