Let’s Talk: How I Got Over My Fear of Zooms

Hello everyone!

Today I’m going to talk about a topic that might seem kind of silly. When remote learning was first introduced somewhat clumsily in the first stages of quarantine this spring, I was terrified of participating in class on my Zoom meetings, and I didn’t like having my video on. Hours and hours of time spent on Zooms later, I’m much more comfortable with the platform and in some situations (definitely not all) I almost prefer it to meeting with people in person. Keep on reading if you want to find out what changed my mind and how I got over this silly fear.

Spoiler alert: the main thing that helped me get over this weird fear was just being on more Zooms. My writing workshop was held completely virtually on Zoom, I attended a leadership seminar also run on Zoom, my meetings for various extracurricular activities ended up being hosted on Zoom, I had to run my own individual Zoom meetings when I volunteered to tutor elementary school students, I had tons of Zoom meetings when I started my internship in July and have now led/helped lead Zoom meetings with a decent amount of people on them through that same internship, and now, of course, I spend my full school day in Zoom classes.

Originally, I felt so conscious about having Zoom classes. Would people be judging my background? Was my audio quality bad, or was there going to be a bunch of background noise from my family that would embarrass me? The idea that my voice would reverberate through everyone else’s speakers if I decided to talk freaked me out. I feel like in an in-person class, people don’t really tune in to other people’s answers unless they’re really engaged in what’s going on.

I now realize Zoom class is basically the same in this way (there’s even more opportunities to tune out), but in my head I thought that everyone would be hyperfocused on me if my face popped up on the screen and started talking. You can’t have casual side conversations with peers or teachers in a Zoom room unless you’re in breakout rooms- either everyone’s listening to you or they’re not.

Being in breakout rooms and nudging myself to participate during my writing workshop led the groundwork for being more comfortable in virtual settings later on. My goal was to participate once per day in the large group sessions during my writing workshop, but we all participated a ton in our small groups. With this experience under my belt, I couldn’t help but feel like a Zoom expert in my other meetings during the summer, and I was one of the first people to speak in my leadership seminar groups in many situations.

I’m one of those people who is super shy but around other shy people can easily make myself more outgoing/extroverted to fit that role in the group, and having previous experience with Zoom/virtual meetings in general made me more confident to lead them and participate in them as I would if I were in person. If I can do it, you can too!

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about my experience with this topic. Zoom is a key part of virtual learning, but it’s being used for so much more even outside of the education sphere right now, and I know it’s scary to some in the same way it was to me. Feel free to leave any feedback or your own personal experiences in the comments. Stay safe and healthy out there.



Review – Philips Sonicare Toothbrush

Hello everyone!

Around the holiday season, my parents got a set of Sonicare toothbrushes for the family. I’ve used a couple different electric toothbrushes over the years, and I was using an Oral-B electric toothbrush before I received my new Sonicare. The Sonicare I have is probably one of the most basic models- it’s the Sonicare Series 2 for plaque control, which you can get on sale for $40 here. If you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush but don’t want to spend a ton of money, keep on reading to hear my thoughts on this Sonicare!

The first few times I used the toothbrush, I was really impressed. I have pretty sensitive teeth and gums yet it didn’t irritate them (sometimes electric toothbrushes do since the bristles move at such high speeds), and my teeth felt really clean after using it. I liked that the toothbrush actually stopped after the two-minute timer went off so I wouldn’t lose track of time, since my Oral B’s toothbrush had a timer but didn’t have that feature. My teeth looked a lot whiter during the first couple weeks of using it, so I was very pleased.

As I’ve used the toothbrush more, I don’t see as much of a clear difference in quality between it and the Oral-B toothbrush I had before. I’m still pleased with it since I believe it’s $10-20 cheaper than my previous toothbrush and I like the timer feature a lot. However, my teeth definitely don’t look as white at the moment (could be other reasons, but I’m not really sure what), and I have to charge it quite often. I’ve started just keeping it on the charging dock whenever I’m not using it, but sometimes it still seems a little slow certain times I’m using it.

Another thing to consider is the price of brush head replacements. My Oral-B replacement heads were around $7 for a pack of two, but most of the places I’ve found that carry these Sonicare replacement heads are $8 for one. This would outpace the $10-20 initial price difference of the two toothbrushes really quickly, so it’s something to consider if price is a concern, or if you like to replace your brush heads more than the average person.

My overall thoughts are that I would rate this toothbrush a solid 8/10. It’s not too pricey, so I wasn’t expecting a ton from it- at this price point, you can’t really expect fancy features, and that’s fine with me. I’m glad I have it and I do enjoy it more than my Oral-B for the time being, but if you’re considering whether to make the brand switch, I don’t think it’s really necessary unless you’re comparing more expensive toothbrushes and there’s more discrepancies in features. I would get whatever is the best deal while you’re shopping.

Hopefully this helps any of you toothbrush enthusiasts! I know it’s something weird to review, but I’m kind of obsessive about dental care since after getting my braces off eight months ago I really want to take good care of my teeth. I’m also willing to try any toothbrushes and toothpaste that will make my teeth look whiter and cleaner, since I have naturally yellow teeth and nothing really helps. Let me know if you have any recommendations 🙂