Your Zoom Square, a Small Slice of Narcissus’ Pond

Artwork by Kat Chen

It is a scene that unfolds in your room every day. You open Zoom, and the lovely little dialog appears with your reflection displayed. It nudges you to Join With Video; who are you to deny the communication gods of your presence? As class begins, your eyes wander to classmates, TAs, and professors, but there is one square that is particularly alluring. The temptation is too strong to resist. Your eyes lock with the figure in the square. You are staring at yourself. 

Your vanity is not your fault. You have been fed Greek tales and ancient legends in LitHum that emphasize individuality. You have been told from a young age that you are exceptional, that you are destined for greatness. You are at one of the most exceptional institutions in the world, and you got in on merit alone. You are used to having the world revolve around you, and it does. Narcissus held a similar infatuation with what stared back at him, spending his whole life falling deeper in love with himself. Isn’t his fame exactly the kind of timeless legacy we all aspire to achieve? 

Zoom may not be as poetic as a glimmering pond, but this screen holds a slice of your historic self. You know you want to pin it, but proceed with caution, for your greatest Nemesis is your Professor. They may ask you to answer a question, causing you to lose focus on your image. Or, worse yet, they may force you into breakout rooms to look at someone else’s face. Oh, the horror is unimaginable!

Fear not, little narcissist; you live to Zoom another day, locked forever in your gaze with yourself.