Multitasking, but online school edition

From dentist appointments to honing culinary skills, students are finding other activities to keep them busy during class


Illustration by Rebecca Newman

Classes online have given students plenty of opportunities to multitask.

Buzz, buzz. You hear the revolting noise of your alarm clock. The snooze button has never looked prettier, but you can’t miss school. Right?

Considering the circumstances of the world, everything seems a little… messy. But one thing remains stable, and let me tell you it is definitely not the mental health of teens. It’s school!

Things have changed. The world has changed. Everything has changed. Most importantly, the format of our lovely learning environment has shifted into something no one would’ve thought to be possible a year ago. 

Cooking during school, dentist appointments during school, bleaching hair during school, sleeping during school, all made possible. Well, that last one happened during in-person classes as well, but you get my point. 

We have entered the realm of multi-tasking. School is simply the background music while doing other activities. School is your mom yelling at you to unload the dishes, but you pretend to not hear her. School seems… optional. 

Let’s be real, attending the first period of the day in bed half-awake has been a staple. I have attended class buried under several pillows and wrapped in a multitude of blankets a plethora of times just like so many others. 

Sophomore Venya Jain is in the same boat as the rest of us when she dozed off during class. 

“I closed my eyes for a second ’cause I was so tired, and then I woke up and it was suddenly 3 p.m.,” Jain said. 

She said she immediately emailed her teacher informing him about her “technical difficulties” which did not allow her to log off the Zoom meeting. 

It’s not our fault we are forced to stay up till three in the morning!. Well, maybe not forced, but TikTok “forces” me to keep scrolling. In fact, it takes most of my will-power to stop doing that same motion with my fingers. Swipe, swipe, swipe….

Not only TikTok, but Netflix is addicting too. I pay more attention to who Michael Scott is mimicking than to what is happening during class. 

“On the side, I’ve had my phone on and I’ve been watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ while making pasta,” Jain said. “I love it.”

Ok, I know many of you may be thinking we are addicted to electronics, but as Jain mentioned, there is more to this multi-tasking era than just TikTok and Netflix. 

Sophomore Ammar Wahab is a talented chef who uses his cooking capabilities to whip up breakfast and lunch during class.

“I myself have cooked pasta, chopped onions, and have made coffee lots of times during school,” Wahab said. 

Although many students use coffee as a way to stay awake throughout the day, others use it as a coping mechanism. “For what?” you may ask. For life. 

Back in March of 2020 (the dreaded month), whipped coffee was a popular drink that thousands of people had enjoyed.

Ever since then, coffee and sad music have elevated the stay-at-home situation. Ah, that brings me to another must-have, sad music. If you were to go to my Spotify it would only consist of depressing beats that are consistently playing throughout the day. 

Returning to the topic of school, I have noticed that around 90 percent of the class’s cameras are off, so it is easy to notice when someone is doing something out of the ordinary. 

“One kid signed in from his dentist appointment while he was in the dentist’s chair,” Jain said.

This is what it has come to. Attending school while getting your teeth cleaned. I guess it can be a reminder for all the students who rolled out of bed and attended school to go and brush their teeth. After all, hygiene is especially important right now.

OK, we have the sleepers, the TikTok/Netflix addicts, and the chefs. What more could there be? 

Believe it or not, a hairdresser. 

“I actually bleached my hair the other day,” Wahab said. 

Changing up either fashion sense or overall looks has been very common during school and quarantine in general. Several refer to it as an “identity crisis”. 

Why wouldn’t it be? After all, we see so many people nowadays. More seriously, students have also been driving around during online classes. Whether it be to a dentist appointment or San Francisco, you cannot escape school, not while it is online.

It’s OK though. You always have coffee and Michael Scott to get you through it.