We eat breakfast at noon. We go to bed at 7 p.m. We wake up at midnight for some reason, grab a bowl of dry Frosted Mini Wheats and huddle feverishly on the couch to rewatch Love Is Blind episodes. As much as we may hate to admit it, the only structure we still have in our lives is online classes.

In a socially distanced world, zoom defines the way we interact with each other. Self-presentation is a big part of that - it’s important to let your individuality shine through that little rectangular box on the screen. And what’s the best way to express your individuality? Through a zoom background.

Which background should you choose? It’s a difficult decision, but there’s one source of guidance we can always rely on: the wisdom of the stars. (☆ω☆) Your Zodiac sign has a profound and inescapable influence over your life, so why not use it (and my shallow astrological expertise) to choose your background for you? The selections of backgrounds below embody the collective spirit and desires of each sign.

Aries: A meme

You change your background every day, but it’s always something like this. Sometimes you even use a GIF, which definitely raises a few eyebrows. Oh, and you ask a question in almost every class. Like, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just noticeable - people can rely on you to interrupt the aching monotony of quarantine. Thank you for your service.

Taurus: No background

There’s nothing wrong with your bedroom wall. Why bother finding a background? You probably couldn’t care less. You have better things to do. Have you finished your Spanish homework yet? No? Wow, you’d better get on that. It’s not going to finish itself. And you have to do that reading for psych. Yeah, the one you forgot about. Maybe you’ve been spending too much time on the internet.  

Gemini: The same background as someone else in your class

Photo by Joshua Perry / North by Northwestern

OMG. This is so awkward. Almost as awkward as that time you called your professor “mom.” Maybe even more. Have they noticed yet? Maybe there’s still time to change it.

Cancer: Anywhere on campus

Photo by Sarina Benoit

You had that dream again last night. The one where you’re walking to Allison for breakfast, but the moment you open the doors, the building transforms into a giant walk-in version of your pantry filled with JIF peanut butter and stale Cheerios. Then you wake up in a cold sweat, afraid and confused. You turn frantically, looking for the familiar sight of your sleeping roommate’s face, but instead, you meet the pensive eyes of Harry Styles in that One Direction poster you put up next to your dresser on your 13th birthday.

What you would give to go back to Northwestern. Why’d it all have to end so soon? You miss everyone so much, even that one guy. You know, from down the hall? Even him. Are your friends still doing OK? You should call them again tonight just to be sure. They’ll probably appreciate the concern.

Leo: Something from Tiger King

Photo from Twitter @zijital

Absolutely nobody is surprised that you have this background. Nobody.

To be honest, quarantine isn’t so bad for you. You’ve been baking a lot, rewatching episodes of Kim Possible on Disney+, zoom calling your friends regularly … it’s been all right. Keep it up!

Virgo: A house that looks cleaner than yours

Photo from Unsplash

Things are getting out of hand. You forgot to vacuum this morning, you haven’t dusted in two (2) days, and you haven’t spoken to your plants in a week. You may have given yourself some slack when it comes to keeping your life together - you know, since the world is ending - but thanks to this background, no one else has to know that. Of course, you probably would’ve arranged the furniture in the photo differently, but this was the only option you saw with neutrals that you actually liked.

Libra: Animal Crossing

Your life has been very strange lately. You’ve made that whipped coffee thing every morning for a week now, you haven’t eaten breakfast since you got home and you don’t remember what the inside of Starbucks looks like. This game is the only thing keeping you sane right now. Collecting things is so relaxing (your native fruit is cherries and you totally vibe with that), catching bugs makes you feel like a child again and your growing sum of bells is the only thing that can fill the gaping void in your heart. Also, K.K. Slider is kind of a zaddy. What? It’s true.

Scorpio: Video unavailable

Photo by Joshua Perry / North by Northwestern

Crap. You definitely woke up 5 minutes after the meeting started - and you even went to bed early (2 a.m.) last night. You knew you shouldn’t have registered for a 1 p.m. class on a Tuesday. Anyway, you can’t be bothered to put a shirt on, so just listen to the lecture through your phone while you scroll through Instagram in bed.

Sagittarius: A foreign country

Photo from Unsplash

Bounjour! Your French professor is gonna be so impressed with this. Lol, you’re so original.

You’ve been keeping your spirits high. Just because your exchange got canceled doesn’t mean you can’t correct people’s pronunciations (it’s Bar-tha-lona), practice speaking with your dog, or play “La vie en rose” while you sob silently into your pillow. There’s always next year, right?

Capricorn: A business high-rise

Photo from zoomvirtualbackgrounds.com

The pandemic has been really hard on you. Hopefully things will open up before your internship starts in the summer, but who can say? You emailed your supervisor there three times already and she still says that nothing’s nailed down yet.

Quarantine is so boring. Classes are too easy, but at least they give you something to do. You just wish they weren’t P/N. Ugh. You tried to organize your room again, but there are only so many ways you can arrange your copies of The New Yorker. You’ve been checking the stock market every hour, but that’s just depressing. And there’s only so many times you can update your LinkedIn profile. At least with this background you can pretend to be in a productive environment.

Aquarius: Space

Photo: Kenikin‌‌

You’ve been taking advantage of your time in isolation, making sure to meditate, keep up with your yoga routine and spend quality time with your cat every day. Still, it’s been hard for you, cooped up in your room with no company besides your lavender essential oil diffuser and the sonorous vocal stylings of Lana Del Rey … the zoom meetings have been nice, though … you love seeing other people’s faces. 🥰🎈🍒🍄 Humans are such beautiful creatures.

You put up this background to encourage your classmates to see the bigger picture … after all, fate is in the hands of the cosmos, and whatever happens will happen … all we can do is make each other smile... 😋🌈💫🦋

Pisces: A zoom preset background

Photo by Joshua Perry / North by Northwestern

You were mixing granola into your morning Chobani when you saw these delightful backdrops in the zoom settings. Neat! They have the beach, the Aurora Borealis, a grassy field … is that the Golden Gate bridge? You love San Francisco! You had a little time before your 9 a.m., so you spent a while carefully deliberating - after all, this is an important expression of your personality. You settled on the Aurora but changed it halfway through class. What can you say? It just wasn’t you.

Article thumbnail: Bill Anders / public domain