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After careful thought and consideration, Jessica Grant, CC ’22, decided to turn off her video, permanently, in real life.

“I’ve just really gotten accustomed to this whole ‘people not seeing me’ thing,” Jessica said in reference to her experience with Zoom classes during the pandemic.

“It’s awesome. Like, if I don’t like what’s happening in class, I can just click a button and no one can see me, hear me, or speak to me. I was like, ‘Helloooo! Why can’t I do this every day in real life?’ So I did.”

It was announced soon after to Jessica’s friends, family, and acquaintances that she would be officially turning her video off. She says she has received mixed responses about the lifestyle change.

“This pandemic is affecting people in a variety of ways, and we have to be aware that not everyone is able to participate in normal life to the same degree,” Jessica’s mom, Melissa, said. “However, freezing for one minute and pretending to ‘glitch’ is not an excuse to not do the dishes.”

“It’s ridiculous,” said Cory, Jessica’s brother. “She’ll tell us she’s not feeling well, and then she’ll just hold up this piece of cardboard with a sign that says ‘camera off’ and her name. It’s like, ‘We can see you.’ If you’re going to come just to actively not participate, in my opinion, why show up at all?”

Jessica’s friends have also expressed frustration about the decision. “We were in the middle of a conversation and Jessica said her internet wasn’t working and left,” said Rachel Pope, Jessica’s best friend. “I was like, we’re currently speaking face-to-face, in person.”

While Jessica admits that it has affected her personal relationships, she says she feels confident in her decision to become an unseen, passive participant in everyday life.

At the time of publishing, although she was sitting directly across from us, Jessica could not be reached for a comment about when, or if, she plans on turning her video back on.

Venice Ohleyer is a “senior” in “Columbia College” studying “creative writing” and “film and media studies.” You may have seen her performing comedy on campus. She also has really bright pink hair. Venice can be reached at venice.ohleyer@columbia.edu or found with her video (selectively) on via Instagram or Twitter.

To respond to this column, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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