BERKELEY, Calif — The UC Berkeley administration took a historic leap this Monday, announcing a new policy in the age of Zoom-school: “Berkeley Time,” Berkeley’s official class-start-time, will shift for virtual classes from 10 minutes to 13 minutes past the hour.
“We need to consider the time that these distraught motherfuckers spend frantically untangling headphones or furiously connecting to Bluetooth as if it’s the last thing they’ll do on Earth,” University Chancellor Carol Christ explained in a livestream. “Research by UC Berkeley Dedicated Task Force #4,563 has shown us that this takes, on average, three minutes. We only had, like, two test subjects though, so the margin of error is give or take a few hundred fucking million years, assuming the student is an incompetent dipshit. Why can’t they plan ahead, for Me’s sake?!”
Students have lauded the decision.
“It’s an amazing thing for students, you know,” remarks sophomore Jack Johnson. “Every time I’m sitting down for class, it’s like: Safari, yeah. bCourses, yeah. Class, yeah. Syllabus, yeah. Zoom link, yeah. Zoom, yeah. And I’m chillin. And then the professor starts talking, and I’m just like ‘fuck, no, fuck, ahh, fuck, well, shit, no, damnit, fuck’ and I have to feel around past all the crushed Nature Valley bars in my backpack for my headphones, wipe all the crumbs off, and then it’s off to the races untangling. Meanwhile, my professor is saying some important shit, and I’m like ‘in attendance’ performatively, but not really.”
Professors have also expressed concern about the first few minutes of class seeming lost on students for an – until now – unidentifiable reason.
“First thing, I jump right in with announcements,” recalls Professor of Sociology David Himbaugh. “I say some really important things — when the next paper is due, how long the paper has to be, the date of the in-person exam, the name of my first wife, grading rubrics, my dog’s birthday — all the basics. I don’t post any of this information online; I only say it in announcements, on Zoom, you know. I like to keep students on their toes. But then the time comes and no one submits anything! It’s ridiculous.
“And then I hear it’s because they’re untangling their damn headphones? Like, Jesus Christ, can’t they just get three desktop computers and a sound-proof room in the middle of a mansion in the Oakland Hills like me? It’s unacceptable and, frankly, it’s been really hard on me. I feel like I’m talking into the void. I’m talking about all the time on Zoom, not just those first minutes. These kids never have their cameras on. They’re just these lifeless background screens, haunting my professional dreams of true connection. It’s like they… don’t care. About me. I’m so lonely. I should go walk my dog.”
The campus community’s resounding support for extending Berkeley Time has paved the way for further accommodations; at press time, the Academic Senate was discussing a deadline modification to account for the hours students spend sitting on their phones in the library before actually starting any work.