Closing Comments

Reading Time: 18 minutes

As this is the final issue for the seniors on the Editorial Board, here are their words of wisdom to the Stuyvesant community:

Dexter Wells

It seems that I’m old news all of a sudden. Odd how that happens. I am proud to announce that I have indeed learned a few things at this school. Firstly, don’t eat chalk, even when dared to—it’s a bad look. Also, the fifth floor door to the roof actually does set off an alarm, as it says. Don’t give the deans a hard time, but if you do and feel it is just, be clever and knuckleheaded.

Try to be in the habit of developing good habits. Take care of yourself, even if doing so isn’t ever in vogue. It has taken me a while to understand that opting to get a night of good sleep rather than working or taking a mental health day has minimal impact on my GPA. After so many semesters, that sort of thing hardly makes a dent. Talk to your guidance counselor, even when you aren’t in a moment of crisis. Seek help when you do feel you need it or even if you aren’t sure. Periods of dismal mental health can be hard to realize until you begin to emerge.

Appreciate the people around you; enjoy the presence of friends. I don’t think that my time at Stuyvesant would have been worth it without the people. Enjoy socialization in whatever capacity suits you. Don’t suppress an impulse to tell someone that they mean something to you.

It is wonderful to pursue your genuine interests, but it is also okay if you need to spend your time figuring out what those interests are. Take your time to identify what you care about, and if you find it, embrace it.

Finally, just try to realize where you are before it becomes a chapter of the past that you gaze upon wistfully. Somehow, I think that I may miss the times I’ve had in high school. Somehow, I think you may too.

Matt Melucci

Cherish your time at Stuyvesant, and don’t focus too much on your grades. In this massive school full of opportunities, take your time to make meaningful friendships and meet people with diverse interests and backgrounds who will enrich your perspective on life. Explore, take risks, and don’t be afraid of quitting things that make you unhappy. One way or another, everything works out! As you progress through Stuyvesant, it may seem like you’ll never reach the end of high school and the work just keeps coming in, but when you reach your senior year, you’ll look back surprised at how fast the years went by. Have fun in these four years to the point where you want to relive them.

Aaron Visser

Each bi-weekly issue of The Spectator is a miracle. Hundreds of people coordinate to fill almost 30 pages with high quality writing. Each issue, it seems the paper will never come out, and yet each issue, a new paper is conjured, miraculously making it onto the racks by the proper deadline. But the process is not miraculous. The Spectator is the product of painstaking hours of dedication and hard work. Editors, and particularly the Editors-in-Chief, push to meet deadlines and maintain a professional level product.

After almost two years, I am happy to be finished. But The Spectator has been the most meaningful experience for me at Stuyvesant. In it, I have forged my writer’s voice and personal identity. I start with a blank document and end with an article I can be proud of, improving every time. As an editor, I oversee scores of writers who mature in front of my eyes. Every other Friday (or whenever the paper comes out), I hold in my hand something I helped create, a piece of myself that hundreds will take home. The experience has been difficult, but nothing meaningful has ever come easily.

In this way, The Spectator mirrors the school that runs it. Stuyvesant is often difficult and tedious. With seven semesters under my belt, I am thoroughly pooped. But Stuyvesant has been and has contained one of the most meaningful experiences in my life. I have changed much for the better in the last four years, and I regret nothing.

I have put so much into The Spectator and Stuyvesant, and they have given back so much in return. Life feels like treading water until you take a moment to notice just how far you’ve swum. It takes the daily grind to sharpen oneself into something worthwhile.

Krish Gupta

As a freshman entering Stuyvesant, I never would have expected the laundry list of challenges during my four years to include a pandemic, only two and half actual years in the building, and a senior year during which I didn’t once reveal the bottom of my face to the class. Nonetheless, I have left Stuyvesant with some of the best memories of my life.

A few things I’ve learned at Stuyvesant: if you want to spend a free period in the library, plan to sprint up the four-to-six escalator to arrive early; the sports teams aren’t as bad as you think they are; the chocolate milk in the cafeteria is underrated; don’t lose your ID; work hard, play hard; find your community; do your thing; keep it real; have a high school experience that you will look back on positively; smile because it happened; and, most importantly, read The Spectator starting with the front page (Sports).

You only get to go to high school once, so enjoy it, whatever that means for you.

Kelly Yip

My time on The Spectator was one of chance. Initially stumbling upon the Humor section one day on stuyspec.com (or was it .org?) and randomly deciding to become a writer, I never would have imagined that one day I would be here, writing a message to you all before I retire after three(ish) years of barely making deadlines, 3:00 a.m. edits, and funky brainstorms.

That being said, I highly suggest that you take risks. Do things on whims. Go after something you suddenly find yourself passionate about, because after your chance passes, it might be gone forever. For me, that life-changing decision was becoming a writer, allowing me to transform into a journalist. Weird, I know. The STEM kid writes fake and real news for fun. But I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

It’s really important to have a laugh once in a while. Your mental health matters, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. So go and flip to the Humor section, take mental health days, and talk to whomever is necessary. Put yourself above your work, and do what makes you happy.

Some miscellaneous tidbits: caffeine works, but the jitters aren’t worth the crash. The two for $6 deal at McDonald’s is a steal. Take advantage of BOGO Wednesdays at 16 Handles too. The “hidden hallways” on the first and second floors are quite nice. There are outlets around the school for charging phones and laptops in a crisis (though they are elusive!). Befriend your teachers. Use as many keys of success as you can get your hands on.

And finally, and I cannot stress this enough, appreciate your friends. Go create memories while you still can, whether it be through going on soup runs at Whole Foods, after-tennis-game adventures, or late-night gaming in a “dungeon.” Support them when things are rough, and celebrate when they succeed. Be a good human, and you will receive the same in return. I feel that as a senior, the realization that your people will soon go off on their own journeys doesn’t hit until it’s too late. So, before everyone inevitably moves on to the next four years of their lives pursuing their dreams and changing the world, make sure to take the time and appreciate your gang, your squad, and your fam. And stay in touch!

Morris Raskin

I think I’ve spent a lot of my high school career in a state of general confusion. At a school as big as Stuyvesant, it’s impossible to truly stay on the pulse of current trends, events, and local affairs. In freshman year, I felt especially disconnected from the school community, letting events and Stuy-specific vocabulary pass me by in a haze.

Of course, there will always be countless unknowns at Stuyvesant; rooms that you’ve never walked into, teachers you’ve never had, and students you’ve never met. So my advice is twofold (and also contradictory, so do with it what you will):

First, accept this state of oblivion. You will never know the full extent of Stuyvesant’s multitudes, and that is okay! Don’t feel intimidated when it feels like others are perpetually in-the-know––in truth, we’re all a bit lost here. But secondly, attempt to defy this state of oblivion. Having a fundamental understanding of Stuyvesant’s structure, layout, quirks, performances, and inner-workings gives the school a much deeper meaning than simply a building full of over-caffeinated overachievers.

How to do this? Keep an ear to the ground! Ask for help! Loiter after school! But whatever you do, don’t let the four years pass you by.

Karen Zhang

Stuyvesant pushes you to be strong.

But it also pushes you to be at your most vulnerable and learn that strength comes gradually. Remember that it’s okay to seek help from your teachers and guidance counselors. It’s okay to drift away from the path you once imagined for yourself. It’s okay to lose love for something you once loved or thought you would. Instead, use that space for something new, whether it’s exploring your newfound appreciation for history after participating in the Congress of Vienna through the numerous electives or joining SING! or a new club for the first time, regardless of your grade. When looking back at your four years at Stuyvesant, you’ll not want to remember simply the harrowing academic stress, but rather the small waves and chatters with your friends in between passing periods, the lunch runs, or the recluses within the building you retreat to with your peers during your free periods (the sixth floor has so many hidden gems). And that you are much more than grades and expectations.

Above all, put yourself out there, even if you don’t feel wholly confident at the moment. Be brave and unapologetically yourself in your actions, voice, and writing, but remember to set limits for yourself when it becomes too much. Make blunders and learn from them as it’s being wrong and imperfect that makes us truly alive and human. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after conducting over 100 interviews for The Spectator, it’s that everyone has something to share. And you’re allowed to share your story. Let yourself be heard.

Ezra Lee

These past four years have gone by so quickly, and working for The Spectator was definitely a highlight in my high school career. From 4:00 a.m. sending nights to department-wide projects, I enjoyed every second of it. And just some advice as I leave Stuyvesant: I hope you all remember that it’s okay to sleep, play, and cry once in a while. You’ll survive. Probably.

Jenny Liu

Hi! I am writing to you in a time crunch from the back left corner of 615E, otherwise known as the Spec Classroom. People are chatting around me. Newsbrief is written on the front board. I won’t finish by the end of the period. I am thinking I will be very nostalgic for this.

I wish I could have written this in the Spec Office, but that is long gone and has moved on. Rest in great power. There is still something very beautiful to be said about people’s attachment to their visited places. The sentiment held water for me and my emotional ties to the Stuyvesant building.

I stepped onto the bridge as a doe-eyed freshman. The big stall on the fourth floor is where tears streamed down my face after failing my first (out of a total of eight, and counting) test. The back of the first floor where I had Soph-Frosh SING! practice, the English book room where I changed into gym clothes, the little corner tucked into the theater spot where I took my naps, and the trains where I made late-night cold commutes with the volleyball team from school: they, and countless others, all have a special, warm place in my heart. And the people that come with these places! Dropping by Mr. Rubinstein’s virtual office hours to talk more about The Beatles than actual math, walking along the sunny piers with friends during eighth period lunch, and having my first News interview on the back of the first floor. Oh, they’ve made the coffee runs and sleepless nights worth it.

It’s a wonderful thing to be open to people and to be touched by them.

From sending Ms. Ingram far too many interview solicitation e-mails to chatting with cool alumni like Uber’s Chief Inclusion Officer Bo Young Lee, I’ve loved my time as a Spectator News editor. There’s a running joke that we’re the budget version of The New York Times. I believe it! No other position has let me cover so much ground that is the present and past Stuyvesant community and left me feeling very small in a very, very good way.

I hope you cry and laugh and smile and talk and scream and learn your whole way through. And protect Carol and her candy jar. Oh my god.

Gavin McGinley

I am probably going to graduate from Stuyvesant with fewer than two years of in-person learning, so take all of my sagely advice with a grain of salt. That being said, I still have all the jaded faux-wisdom anyone could possibly want from a high school senior, so here’s what I’ve learned:

No one cares about your haircut as much as you do, and it’s not even close.

Don’t do all of your homework assignments. It’s just not worth it. Getting a good night's sleep is almost always a better investment. Stuyvesant students are good at math, so take the time to figure out the fraction of a fraction of a percent of your GPA that you’re weighing against your mental and physical health.

You can clean your gym clothes once every two marking periods and face no consequences.

It’s totally fine to be average, and it’s totally nutzo to think you have to be exceptional at even one thing. Do what you find fun, focus on improvement, and don’t compare yourself to other people.

Be happy when others succeed. Not not jealous, actually happy.

Know the value of your time. I’m not going to pretend like good grades and planning for the future don’t matter—they matter a lot— but being a teenager in NYC is pretty rockin’. Get the most out of it while you can. I’ve recently had all of my totally tubular senior plans Air-Jordan-Slam-Dunked into the concrete by some totally unforeseen conundra, so all I can say is that none of the opportunities you have now are guaranteed in the future. You’ll feel better about the places you’ve failed than the places where you didn’t even try.

Sophie Poget

My name means wisdom, and I will now impart some words of Sophie upon you:

You have to get a pizza bagel from Terry’s at least once.

When you get to pick your gym classes, first period yoga is a lovely way to start your morning.

You will feel significantly worse the next day if you decide to binge-watch “90 Day Fiancé” instead of going to sleep at a reasonable hour. Sleep is the most important part of the day, and it is criminal how long it took me to understand that.

If you can’t think of anything relevant to what you’re reading in English, bring food for your minutes gift; everyone will thank you.

Hug your friends, go to Poet’s House to study (if it opens again anytime soon), join all the clubs (especially Spec Art), and take advantage of all the time you have at this school. It is such an amazing place because of the lovely people, and I am so thankful for the memories I’ve made here.

Jared Moser

When I entered Stuyvesant as a freshman, I thought that I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I thought that I would end up taking every AP class, leading multiple clubs, being captain of a sports team, and then going off to Harvard to study physics. I intended to do nothing that would interfere with what I determined was best for myself.

I never thought that I would join the school newspaper, but I joined The Spectator on a whim and filled out my application an hour before it was due. Now, I’m on the editorial board, contributing to one of the best student newspapers in the country. I also thought that I would get a Ph.D. in physics, but I’m not going to major in physics next year, and I certainly won’t be going to Harvard because I didn’t even apply.

I’m not saying it’s bad to have goals; the ambitions I had freshman year helped me through many tough classes and led me to leadership positions. My mistake was being far too closed-minded. Don’t close yourself off to all of the amazing opportunities that Stuyvesant has to offer. If a club looks interesting, join it. If you want to hang out with your friends, do it. Don’t force yourself to follow a predetermined path for success just because you or your parents think it’s what is best. If you open yourself up, you never know what might happen. Enjoy your time at Stuyvesant, and never be afraid to try something new; you never know what opportunities await.

Francesca Nemati

Coming into Stuyvesant, I was told, like I am sure most of you were, to expect hours of homework and low grades. I heard about the constant lack of sleep and the depressed students. I was warned that I had to sacrifice one of sleep, academics, or social life to have the other two. Yet I came here anyway. And four years later, I am still here. Despite all the long nights, early mornings, and homework-filled weekends, I am happy I came.

If college is supposed to be the best years of one’s life, I suppose high school would have to be a close second. We all do a lot of complaining about Stuyvesant, but spending the last year and a half in online school has made me realize how much I actually like the school. I have fond memories of baking banana and chocolate cupcakes for a Columbian Exchange project, spending hours at Whole Foods debating with other countries in the Congress of Vienna, watching SING! from the back row of the balcony, and throwing water balloons at my softball coach on his birthday.

During my time here, I have met such amazing, smart, talented, ambitious, genuine people that I don’t believe I would have been surrounded by anywhere else. The people are what make Stuyvesant so special. My peers at Stuyvesant have encouraged me to push myself to become the best student, teammate, and friend I could be.

I am truly grateful for my time at Stuyvesant.

Suah Chung

Stuyvesant taught me, among other things, how to climb stairs. The steps I’ve overcome or am still in the process of overcoming:

Don’t stress about improvement or becoming a “better version of yourself.” Growth comes in waves. As they crash toward you, embrace them.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and sometimes that is not enough time to finish everything. That is ok. Take a mental health day if you’re feeling burnt out, or push back that individual homework assignment in pursuit of more sleep, which will make you happier in the long run.

Pursue what you are interested in, but also try something you might not be, just for the slight possibility that it might become your greatest passion. Alternatively, don’t be afraid to let go of things that didn’t end up being a match for you.

Start something new. There is value in what you have to contribute, and don’t let potential social validation (or invalidation) stop you from going for it.

Don’t be afraid to open up to others. Find your safe space, whether it be in Ms. Kornhauser’s guidance office after a brutal day or on the train with your friends on the way home from school. Or create your own, and bring a support system to others.

Friends are important, but sometimes, sleep is more important. Stick to what is right for your well-being, and roll with it. Your friends will understand.

Don’t forget to love yourself.

Cherish the small moments. While you are living through these moments, they can feel like an eternity, but now, as I near the beginning of my last semester of high school, I can’t help feeling that it all passed in a blur.

It is okay to feel overwhelmed and then procrastinate as a result. Don’t feel guilty about it, and just move on. Though you might have wasted X number of minutes, hours, or days, the next moment is undetermined. Make the best of it. I definitely know it’s not easy, but those little steps will get you there, and before you know it, you’ll be at the top of the Tribeca Bridge.

You’ll make it, and congratulations in advance.

Adrianna Peng

Don’t run for the subway. Unless you have a test first period and the next train is in 10 minutes, it’s not worth it.

Don’t run to class. It’s not worth it. You can get from the first to 10th floor in five minutes with a strategic combination of climbing stairs, taking escalators, and climbing escalators. If you have a one to 10 or two to 10 transition, as I’ve been smited with for at least five semesters during my time at Stuyvesant, you’ll adapt. It works out.

High school goes by faster than you think. Though it may sound ridiculous to savor your time as a constantly stressed, sleep-deprived Stuy student, savor it. Treasure the great moments; you’ll know when you’re in one, and if you don’t, you’ll know after. I remember blips of my freshman year, such as being accepted into Spec Art, so vividly that they could’ve happened yesterday. I still can’t believe I'm almost four years older now.

Adjacently, don’t stress yourself out more than you need to. Don’t take classes you vehemently don’t want to take, and don’t freak out over a comparatively bad test grade if your other ones are fine. You will be fine. Trust me. It’s also alright to “waste time” sometimes. We can’t function at our very best 24/7, and we shouldn’t expect to do so. Take that nap. Go out for dinner with your friends. Do something you enjoy for a bit. From a tired senior unto you, make the most of the time you have here before it’s gone. You’ll come out of it much more satisfied with what you’ve accomplished. Less burnt out too.

P.S. Sometimes, it’s nice to take the long way home, alone. You’ll know what I mean.

Logan Ruzzier

I often wish I’d reached out to people more at Stuyvesant. I’m guilty of spending every class mouthing off to my friends, only to walk right past them in the halls and the street. I’m strung up with regret when I see someone I recognize and realize we’ve returned to the status of strangers, losing the acquaintance we once had. I count their faces in club photos online and wonder how different my experience might’ve been, had I only kept in touch.

It’s only in my last year that I’ve realized that it is worth it to pursue that friendship, to sit in a new seat each day, to talk to that person for the first time. Just last week, I was one of only 10 people to attend my gym class, and none of my friends were among them. It’s not a drill sergeant type course and much closer to a gathering at the agora, so I knew that I’d be particularly bored (and lonesome) without someone else’s business to mind. Instead of curling weights alone, which would’ve been my go-to, I struck up a conversation with another silent student and greatly improved our periods.

You might be thinking, “Wow, you talked to someone, Logan! What a revelation!” But truly, it is. It may sound like cheesy or obnoxiously chipper advice, especially to us jaded high schoolers, but as my dad told me every morning since first grade, “Go out there, and make a new friend.”

Never be content with the same people, same food, same experience day in and day out. You’ll find that a great relationship can exist between the unlikeliest of friends. You’ll see weeks as more than a painfully long list of assignments and obstacles. And you’ll taste a whole heck of a lot of great food.

After all, I may not remember what I learned in Art History, but I do remember the girl who sat next to me and drew little hearts in my notebook.

Clara Shapiro

What I told the authorities was this: “You want me to retire from The Spectator, you’re gonna have to drag me out KICKING AND SCREAMING.” Call out the army, because I’m staying put. There is sap in this old tree yet!

An old tree is precisely what I am. Bent are my limbs from the blowing blasts and breezes, my bark is roughened and toughened by the seasons. An aged thrush builds a nest of brambles on my barren branches.

Recently, I have been listening to a song called “Go, Lovely Rose,” a poem by the English poet Edmund Waller set to music by Roger Quilter. Perhaps in my bleary old age, I have been thinking of wizened trees and lovely roses because of this song. Here is the first verse of the poem:

Go, Lovely Rose

Edmund Waller (1606-1687)

Go, lovely Rose!

Tell her, that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,

How sweet and fair she seems to be…

Well, I do get the sense Waller was writing about some sort of lady-friend, some sort of broad, but how right he is, that we must not waste our time, not waste our sweet and fair hours.

Go, lovely Roses, into the sun while you still have time! We must treasure the beauty of our friendships, each day’s laughter, and the rush and hush of the hallways as we skip bathroom-wards. The poem ends, “How small a part of time they share / That are so wondrous, sweet, and fair!”

Now I have reached my sunset hour, and my message is almost through. My trunk creaks and cracks, and a lone leaf quivers on the end of my branch, yet before I go, let me croak out my last—at times the gales will blow harsh, and the soil of Stuyvesant will seem rocky and bare, yet at other times you will see the sun, and the breeze will be mild and fair. So go, lovely Rose! Go!