Issue 9, Volume 113
You fools. You idiots.
My tenure working at the student organization known to the in-crowd of Stuyvesant as the “tator” was nothing but a carefully planned ruse. My tactical ascent through the ranks of writer, Editor-in-Training, editor, and editor in charge of crosswords was orchestrated from the moment I stepped into whatever room Spec Humor was in. It was only after I brutally decapitated the two Editors-in-Chief in my voracious chase for power that I thought to myself: “Was it all worth it? This ruthless, bloody conquest of an institution?” The answer was, as they say in Ohio, “Yes.” During my time at The Spectator, it was not the adoration and shining status that was bestowed upon me that brought me joy, but rather the friends I made along the way. Sorry, I meant the friends I killed.
Under NYC law, we are guaranteed 180 days of schooling each year. Despite that, it feels like we never got those 180 days of school every year. We never imagined our freshman year would be cut short by a virus we didn’t even know existed, that we’d have to do jumping jacks over Google Meets with each other for PE or take physics tests with masks over our mouths wondering if we’d ever have a “normal” school experience again.
Now, I sit here writing a message to students who will be in my shoes one day—five days before becoming a second-term senior. I cannot tell you not to worry about your grades or to try to sleep more because that’s not what my experience was like. I want to tell you that it’s okay to stress about that chemistry test. It’s also okay to sleep less than you did in middle school because there are too many experiences to have during the day to sleep. I tell you this because I know if I said otherwise, you’d ignore me.
Unfortunately, and fortunately, that’s a part of the experience you’ll have here. So if you’re going to worry about grades and choose to sleep less than the ideal minimum amount, do it with your friends. I will always look back at my experience here fondly. Despite constant stress about physics and calculus exams, I only remember the laughs I had with my friends while studying for them. Despite the panic I felt when I received my first low grade in computer science, I only remember the bond I formed with my teacher through countless office hour sessions. And despite numerous sleepless nights, I only remember the late-night gossip sessions at Bridging Seas meetings and the coffee runs with my friends.
So, an apocalyptic event might occur during your freshman, sophomore, junior, or even senior year—who knows? All I have to tell you is to cherish every moment you have here.
I first came across The Spectator during their recruitments back in March 2020, before doomsday hit. Fast forward three years, 43 issues, and 31 articles later, and it’s time to say goodbye.
I often wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to recruitments. What if I went home that day only to return two years later with no remembrance of The Spectator? How scary that world sounds.
As I wrap up my tenure as a Spectator-er, I fear that I’ll become forgotten among the history books. Mr. Garfinkel has reminded me that past Editorial Boards have passed by in an instant. I don’t want our accomplishments in the Sports department or the late-nights we’ve dedicated to the paper to be lost amongst the pages.
I hope that years from now, people will remember the legacy we’ve left on The Spectator—the iconic 615E room, the newspapers dispersed during critique day, the never-ending circular conversations, and NeMo’s attempts to control the editors from erupting into chaos.
To the next generation of Spec, I wish you the best of luck––get those drafts in on time and continue those antics in 615E. I know for certain you’ll reflect on those memories with a longing to go back.
Yes, we are nearing the end of high school, the thing that we dread every day, that is, until we are about to lose it. I suppose the immediate reaction some people might have is “hooray,” but I say the following with both honesty and bittersweetness: I have already begun to miss the good old days during high school. It genuinely seemed as if it were yesterday that I was just an innocent, clueless freshman lost in the wonderful whirl of opportunities that is high school. But if there was one thing that I did right, it was joining The Spectator, along with the myriads of communities that I can proudly call home. Sitting here in the darkness of my room, finishing up my closing comments just 13 minutes before the deadline, I can still fondly envision, clear as day, four years’ worth of cherished memories with my fellow Speckies, friends, and teachers, whether they encaptured sadness, ecstasy, or anything in between.
But sappy reminiscence aside, I do have several pieces of advice, crystalized and etched into the depths of my brain folds by the myriad of sleepless nights spent grinding homework and projects. First, remember that sleep goes first. All-nighters are rarely worth it, and if one is, it’s probably because you procrastinated (smh). Second, going to office hours is not a chore. Instead, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised by your teacher’s extensive knowledge of their respective subjects but also their life stories and invaluable lessons that they will, in turn, impart to you. Third, and cliché as it is, believe in yourself. Believe in your own potential, and you’ll do amazing things. I would’ve never thought to have ended up where I am today without the fire inside me that just keeps on burning, pushing me to strive for more and never settle for less.
One more thing before I stop rambling: please give “Raise y_our glass” by Huh Yunjin a listen. It is a surprisingly inspirational song for when you feel down. And with that, go forth, younglings, and indulge yourselves in that newfound obsession, K-Pop phase, anything, and don’t look back!
Everyone wants to reach for the skies and have their whole life planned out, including me. Freshman year, I came into this school with a whole lot of plans, goals, and hopes. Honestly, I can’t pinpoint the moment when those freshman year preparations were thrown out the window, but my last-minute application to become an editor for Layout certainly was the result. Ending up here in The Spectator, now soon to leave, was never in the plan.
You might find yourself throwing out your plans too. Take it in stride. Don’t tolerate the things you don’t enjoy just because it’s the next step in the plan for your dream career, college, or other goals. Feel passionate about your homework, extracurriculars, applications, and so forth. High school is not only the next step, and besides, feeling miserable for four years kinda sucks.
I remember the first time I was called a “nerd” was in fifth grade. I was very offended.
Recently, I told a friend, “I’m so excited to edit this issue! We have articles on crypto, soccer, female rage…”
“You’re such a nerd,” she said affectionately.
And I, having gone through all that character development jazz since fifth grade, enthusiastically agreed. Here, it’s a compliment to be a nerd. It’s a place where it’s cool to be smart and eager to learn.
At Stuyvesant, we have the opportunity to be surrounded by some of the smartest people. Our math teachers can spot a minute mistake in a page filled with limits, sigmas, and integrals. Our history teachers can go on 10-minute tangents about the politics of parking lots. Our English teachers can recommend a book or poem that perfectly completes the thoughts we write about in an essay.
It’s not just the teachers. The students at Stuyvesant make crazy robots that can climb monkey bars. There are freshmen solving math problems most people can barely read. I’ve edited Opinions articles so packed with emotion that they’ve brought me to tears.
This place is a palace of knowledge. W e tend to forget that as we plow through homework and cram for tests, but there are ways to make the Stuyvesant grind fun (-ish). To study for an AP World test, I remember reciting the history of camel-back travel to my family on a road trip. I talked to my parents about our insurance policies after learning about them in Personal Finance, my friends and I quiz each other on calculus theorems as we run in Polar Bear PE, and my brother’s bedtime story is my AP Government notes.
My advice is to get as many people involved in your education as possible. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a city to educate a Stuy kid. Luckily, we have that city available to us. So embrace your nerdiness! This is the best place to be one.
Walking from one class to another, I would hear endless students crying about a test, going to therapy, getting their hearts broken, stressing about college, and so on. Honestly, my last four years weren’t bad at all.
When I got into this school, I was prepared to spend my teenage years bored, depressed, and overwhelmed with projects and homework. But I made friends! Unforgettable memories! There were so many things that made all the effort worth it. Find hobbies, explore interests, meet new people, and use your four years to discover who you are and who you will be.
Ahh. The Spectator. I love The Spectator (everyone should definitely join, it’s super cool). As one of the supreme leaders of the Layout department, I recommend you join the Features department, or the Opinions department; just don’t join Layout. I hated how our sending schedule lined up perfectly with my math test so that I bombed everything. I also hated when my brains and eyes were moments from exploding, and then I discovered that we were a page over or a page short. Only join this department if you’re super awesome and strong like me. But I do love The Spectator.
Anyway, I’m happy lol.
Raven (Ruiwen) Tang
Intrinsically, we are all spectators. We are gifted with the ability, doomed and entrusted with the obligation, to perceive and take it all in: ourselves, each other, the human condition. We must dearly treasure and broadly apply our spectator-ness: by choosing electives that we are hesitantly curious about, by perusing the offerings of the Stuyvesant library, by traversing new routes to school and class, by opening our ears and hearts to our peers. In these ways and others, we must push ourselves to get out and spectate. We must. It is only then that we will be able to close a chapter (a volume, an issue) of our lives with satisfaction and delight: the satisfaction and delight that we were there, that we were truly present, that we absorbed some morsel of value, that we opened our eyes and saw and learned and loved something before it was over.
If there’s anything that Stuyvesant and therapy have taught me is that there’s no point in stressing over uncontrollable situations. Let July be July and let August be August.
High school is one of those unique times in your life when you can make mistakes with minimal consequences. Nothing really is ever that serious. Take that day off, fail that quiz, ask your crush out. It seems so stressful in the moment, but four years later, you’ll wake up one day and realize how much you’ve learned. You’ve moved forward, and that’s what counts. Oh, and on your way out, don’t forget to thank your friends, teachers, and coffee carts who have helped you along the way.
Try not to skip your meals for work. That math homework isn’t going anywhere! It’s okay to let yourself live and take a break; you don't need to be productive all the time. Taking time to enjoy yourself also counts as time well spent! Take a nap! Eat a Popeyes chicken sandwich! Hang out with friends!
It’s been four years—four years I feel like I can count off on one finger, because I’m not left with the elegance I expected to have four years ago. There are a lot of things I’m not left with. I’m not a genius, famous, or five-foot-eight. But despite the inches I’m missing, I’m left with so much of the unexpected.
I’ve formed so many new connections that my freshman self would’ve been too shy to handle. I’ve found things that I do not succeed at, that I have to put in the extra step and mile and marathon to do okay in. My bedtime is no longer something I bargain for with my parents—it’s now woefully, miserably late. And I’m happy. The harried news interviews conducted in hallways, the sampling of hot coffees around the school, the 2:00 a.m. copy-editing while snacking on cereal—all of it has contributed to my character arc.
I won’t lie: It’s hard. A juggling act of exams, essays, tutoring, CS homework, and then a social life on top of that—it’s rough. So I’ll leave you with a bit of advice that I wish I’d adopted as a puny 13-year-old kid walking into the next four years of my life:
It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Finished your turn-and-talk and are silently sitting? Don’t. Talk about your day. Complain about your math test. Tell them about your obsession with the tall guy across the room.
Try new things. It doesn’t have to be a new school, a new environment, or a new you. Keep the old you, but build on top of it. Don’t be scared to branch out. You’re a young sapling with oh-so-much potential—let Stuy be your gardener (wow, I’m good at this).
Not everything you do defines you. Your grades, your popularity, your leadership positions—don’t take them too seriously, because that’s not all that you are. Make sure that you’re okay, that you’re happy, and that you can handle it. Find your balance.
I wish I could say that I had some sage advice or hard-earned wisdom on how to get through this place in one piece, but there’s no cheat sheet… not really. I guess I’d remind you to lean on friends who will tell you when you’ve had too many cups of coffee and threaten to cut you off from your caffeine sources if you don’t switch to tea. Be grateful to the people, moments, and memories that enrich your life, and be grateful to those who make it harder but you stronger. Make sure to come up for a breath of air once in a while—look around and take in all the beautiful things in this world, just waiting to be appreciated. It may not seem like it now, but you won’t be in high school forever. And maybe, when you’re finally on the other side, you won’t just feel happy because you made it but a little sad too, because such a special part of your life has come to a close.
So, go! Make memories and laugh and cry and grow and persist so that when it’s time to move on, you can say that it was all worth it.
How does one open a closing comment? Denoting the beginning to an ending is oxymoronic and paradoxical, not to mention futile and depressing. Alas, I must indulge.
In my time writing and editing, I’ve always had trouble with introductions and conclusions. The gooey middle is where I’ve made my home—it makes sense that Arts & Entertainment usually lands smack in the middle of The Spectator. So don’t miss the middle for the conclusion, because the middle is the best part, and it disappears in an instant. What I’m trying to say is, don’t take your day-to-day routine for granted before it’s time to summarize it with your trademark superfluous grandiloquence.
I suppose this comment is the beginning to a much grander end: the end of high school, yes, but the end of my adolescence, too. The end of fresh newspaper stacks in a stand by the scanners. I am bad at endings.
There are parts of Stuyvesant that I will miss and parts that I definitely won’t. I’m not going to pretend like the past four years have been a smooth ride, but life rarely is. I can’t deny, though, that this environment has pushed me to grow in boundless ways. I have learned how to be resilient in the face of failure. I have dreamed bigger because of the people around me. I have found communities that empowered me to test my own boundaries of what’s possible. Many memories have formed within these walls and, in the end, they will be the only things I remember. Set aside time for those moments. Don’t get caught up in preparations for the future. Those pieces will fall into place eventually. Live in the present, always.
Was Stuyvesant worth those bleary-eyed nights and desperate coffee pick-me-ups? Meh, I guess so. I can’t say for certain since I’ve only been half-awake these last four years. So much has muddled into a gross montage of grimy train rides, disappointing weather, harsh red marks on innumerable exams, and the occasional rat sighting. That is not to say that high school was completely nauseating, because underneath all of that suffering was collective suffering—an understanding among the student body that “yes, I too am on my third cup of caffeine today.”
In retrospect, I suppose I‘ve accumulated quite a bit of knowledge from Stuy. I’ve learned the best way to stay awake—blaring Taylor Swift while flailing around in a pattern of movements that some interpret as dancing. I’ve learned that Morgan’s Market is the premier deli for purchasing a BLT, not Terry’s or Ferry’s. And I’ve learned the most important thing you find in high school is your friends: the people you fall to the ground laughing with, the people you steal sips of coffee from, the people who keep you sane, loving you in all of your unhinged glory.
Stuyvesant, my home? Admittedly, I have slept in a fetal position on the floor. That counts for something.
P.S. Special thanks to Spec’s A&E department for enabling my unholy addiction to trash television. You’ve taught me that Netflix comes before homework.
These days, memories jump out to me at random. Things that immediately come to mind:
Inspired by an illustration from this issue: “Different people look like they’re drawn with different pencils,” a Spec editor said.
Apparently I’m drawn with a calligraphy brush. Now try and think of a person drawn in 0.3 lead, 6B pencil, Sharpie, etc…
At the stands, watching a freshman (who else could they be?) try, then fail, to grab a copy of the latest issue from the top stand. They got it eventually.
Sitting on the radiators in Spec class because of overpopulation from EITs.
Mr. Garfinkel’s iconic flannels.
Kenisha’s Powerball news.
Learning to bike after learning how to drive.
Taking my very first issue of The Spectator off the stands in 2019. Reading Raymond Wu’s “Substitute Enigmas” in the Features section. Feeling indescribably curious and hungry for more.
Editing my last Spectator article in 2023. Reading the words of new and talented writers, and the words of the old and experienced.
This issue, you better read the Features piece on Local Food, then visit the Chambers Street coffee cart and get yourself a large hot coffee and Danish (Mr. Sherzada, my guy).
Whenever you have a college essay to grind, find a song that matches the name of the school. No matter how bad or good the song sounds, it’ll help you grind out of spite or love.
Looking back on these last four years is like looking for vanished time, like looking through a dusty window at the past I can see but never experience again. So, to whoever’s reading: go make memories. Don’t think too much.
Let’s be honest; we have all thought or will think at least once, “Was it worth coming here?” Well, you are here anyway, and luckily, you have options. Here, you can learn to dance from no experience and make ball-throwing robots. Heck, you can even publish your work in a newspaper!
But the moment you start donning your St:)yvesant merch, losing your ID for the first time, and selling your soul for a roma panini, you will start to see that there’s this mentality that plagues many Stuy students. Don’t fall for it: Don’t ask people what their GPA is. Don’t feel guilty for getting good sleep. It’s more impressive to ask for help when you need it than to struggle alone. If you think something in the school should be changed, think about how to fix it. Ask your friends how they are doing. Phew.
As you pursue your Stuy adventures, drag some friends along with you, or make some along the way, or join your friends’ adventures—probably all three. You can try Model UN with someone and then drop it together (NO SHADE—it just wasn’t for me) or find that trending TikTok place in Chinatown (shu jiao fu zhou), or try out for a SING! crew (my plan next semester). Hopefully, your Stuyvesant dictionary has more words than “cramming” and “college.” I’d like to mention that I coined the term “specsy.”
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Stuy, but ultimately, I think this is where I belong. These four years will be what you make of them. You have more control than you think and, as always, stay open-minded, empathetic, and daring. Bon voyage!
Many among the Editorial Board, and admittedly myself, like to joke that Spec has consumed my entire life. When I first began my tenure as EIC, I was told by the wonderful Karen Zhang that this newspaper was about to become 75 percent of my life at Stuyvesant. Now after a year of constantly delayed articles, caffeine-fueled sending nights, and circular Spec class discussions, I can say that she (and the rest of the Editorial Board) was right.
Spec has consumed my life in the best way possible. When I look back on this past year it’s not the late nights spent editing (though there were many of them) that first materialize in my mind—it’s the laughter-filled Fun Fridays, the actually-productive magazine brainstorm sessions, the sight of the cafeteria filling up during recruitments and of editors, teachers, and freshmen alike seeming to almost be enjoying themselves while reading the paper.
It took me a long time to find my place at Stuyvesant. I joined far too many clubs my freshman year in an attempt to discover that home, and all it did was leave me burnt out and stretched too thin. Halfway through my sophomore year, when the pandemic made each day feel mind-numbingly horrible, I joined the Editorial Board as an Opinions Editor. I knew from the very first Spec class, when I saw myself laughing for the first time in forever at whatever silly icebreaker we were doing, that I had found it. My place. My home.
No matter how long it takes—it might even be now, halfway through your senior year—find that home. It doesn’t have to be at The Spectator, though I can testify that Spec makes a pretty great one. It can be the knitting club, or even that group of kids you sit with during lunch. Stuyvesant is brutal, and the only way you survive is through the connections you make with others. Create something more to remember than failed chemistry tests and sleepless nights. These four years are in your hands.
I’ve always told my friends that if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t choose Stuy again. But reflecting on my past three-and-a-half years here, I don’t know if I really believe that. There’s certainly been a lot to appreciate—so in the spirit of gratitude, here’s a thank you note to everyone who made my Stuy experience special.
Thank you, Ms. Maggio, for failing me on my first ever test here.
Thank you, Mr. Nieves, for believing in me both as a student and a captain.
Thank you, Mr. K, for teaching me that I am utterly incompatible with CS.
Thank you, Ms. Pluchino, for always being so thoughtful and considerate.
Thank you, Mr. Hiller, for helping me appreciate the beauty of math (though your tests are still dumb hard.)
Shoutout KK, AC, and SH for putting up with me all four years.
Shoutout eighth period lunch for the most interesting convos.
Shoutout CP, JH, RP, and AC; you guys mean the world to me.
Shoutout to everyone else I couldn’t fit here. Love you guys, always.
Thank you, Spec. You guys are the most intellectual, passionate, and driven group of people I’ve ever met, and I’m grateful for all the time I spent with you.
Thank you, StuySquad. You guys lifted me out of my lowest point and gave me one of my most cherished memories.
Thank you, Dragons, for teaching me what it means to be a leader. Keep killing it once I’m gone.
Thank you, Stuy, for all your highs and lows. Thank you for all your lessons, your people, your experiences. Thank you for being the best place to be (no matter what I may have told all my friends.) Thank you, Stuy.
After seven semesters of attending Stuyvesant High School, a.k.a. seven semesters of hearing “oh, you’re smart-smart” when asked what school I go to, I wish I had more advice to give—proof that I have figured some things out along the way. Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say. I still don’t know how to effectively study for a test, but I do know how to speed read my notes on the escalator. I don’t know how to maintain a healthy sleep schedule or survive without caffeine. I don’t know how to focus for hours on end or get my work done without extensive breaks. I don’t know how to cope when an escalator is broken or when the bells are on some weird schedule. I don’t know how to balance school, soccer, and Spec, but somehow I did. In some ways, I have never stopped feeling like a freshman. In the midst of all this uncertainty, there is one thing I have learned: give yourself a break. The grind never stops, but it can for a few hours.
I still remember all those weekends and hours afterschool at the local Asian prep center in eighth grade. Doing SHSAT practice question after question, analyzing overly complex reading passages and not understanding them. I didn’t realize I was reaching towards something that would be so life-changing.
For the first time, I would wake up at 5:00 a.m. every school day and make my own breakfast. I would learn the art of fighting for a subway seat on the 7 train to finish my math homework. And even as the night dawned, I would find myself running home after sports practice or robotics meetings with not a single passerby in sight. This “new normal” was so not normal, yet it was normal at 345 Chambers Street, where I would find pieces of these shared experiences with my peers and newfound friends. Knowing I am not alone in getting four hours of sleep grinding for a calc exam or relying on iced coffee to stay alive, I’ve come to embrace that my high school experience is maybe not so bad. Though I’m making it sound like torture, what keeps me going are my baddie friends who I can spill tea with for hours, the clubs I’ve come to call home, teachers with their relentless support, and the halal cart guy outside Wholefoods who always gives me a free drink.
I may not be in the best position to give advice as I still feel like a freshman inside, but I encourage you to stop cramming for that test or homework and just take a moment to appreciate the entirety of your surroundings. Do something unexpected—a cartwheel in the hallway, catching up with a friend on the escalator, or visiting your secret hideout in the building. Appreciate everything before it’s too late.
It might be cheesy but I have always said my favorite part of Stuyvesant is the people. Both students and teachers, the amount of incredibly smart and passionate individuals that make up this school is what makes it so meaningful to me. The vast majority of my classes have been genuinely enjoyable often despite the workload, always due to the valuable interplay of my teacher’s passion and the camaraderie of my peers.
My first close friends at this school were upperclassmen in STC’s Tech Crew. I loved the work but I really stayed because it was a group I loved to be around, and those after-school meetings really kept me going through the transition to high school. Those connections and relationships and the others I’ve developed since have defined my experience.
Since we've returned I've found so many more friends and have almost never had a class where I felt alone. I’ve even made friends with people purely because we share a Yo- last name and always sat next to each other. It has really felt like we've only had two years of school together and while they have been very important to me and my journey, I can’t help but wish for the rest back. Despite the stress, long nights, and occasional drama there is not an ounce of doubt in my mind for coming here.
To the teachers I’ve had the pleasure of learning from: I genuinely mean it when I say I have never regretted a class. There may have been some long, tiring days where I struggled to pay attention, but I always maintained a strong respect for you, and still do.
To the freshmen and sophomores who have the privilege of experiencing it all: high school is hard, and you may never completely figure it out, but look for those friends, reach out, there is some community out there for you. I really hope you enjoy it.
I cried the first time I took a test at Stuyvesant. Tears on my paper. Rushed multiple choice answers. The whole ordeal.
I got a 48 on that test and spent practically every Thursday at AIS after that trying to remedy my terrible AP Biology grade. It didn’t work.
The most important thing I’ve learned at Stuyvesant is that you can’t defer life. As Stuyvesant students, our immediate instinct is to delay things, just to submit a paper in time or or load another extracurricular onto your plate. This pattern spirals to a point where intrinsic motivations morph into resentment—when you’re doing things solely out of obligation or for that acceptance letter to your “dream college.” But the thing we always seem to forget is that these are years we’re never going to get back. So don’t fret about that late assignment. Don’t pull consecutive all-nighters during AP season. Don’t cancel plans to perfect Powerpoint slides for a presentation. See that movie. Have dinner with your family. Stay out late with your friends. Make the occasional dumb decision.
When I think back to my Stuyvesant experience, I don’t remember my failed AP Bio tests, particularly trying classes, or supplemental essays I wrote begrudgingly. I remember going to coffee shops after school, 10-hour SING! coverage, laughing too loud taking the subway back with friends, watching the sun set as I got lost in conversation at City Hall Park, and eating lunch in the writing center.
High school is odd. It’s a bit of a crossroads between adulthood and childhood. You have 17, maybe 18 years under your belt? You’re tiptoeing the line between responsibility and freedom, caught in the constant flurry of change, trying to grasp onto a sense of self. Take advantage of these few years of uncertainty. It’s one of the last times we’ll be young enough to define ourselves, before the world tries to push some cookie-cutter identity on us.
It’s impossible to describe my relationship with this school. But looking back, I wouldn’t trade these last few sleepless, caffeine-driven, exhilarating years for anything else. From the wise words of a Class of ‘22-er, Stuyvesant is a fever dream. So, embrace its craziness, messiness, and chaotic beauty in the few years you have here.
It’s a good thing four years at Stuyvesant have dried up my tear ducts because otherwise, I’d be sobbing hysterically at the thought of leaving The Spectator, especially while writing the very comment that seals me to accepting this treacherous fate. Every day, I rise from my bed, dreading the thought of having to go back to school instead of sleeping in, but I console myself with the thought of being able to enter Spec class at the end of each long stretch of classes. I think about how much I would hate missing the chance to sing “happy birthday” to one of my fellow editors, how much I would hate missing hearing every piece of news everyone has to share, how much I would hate missing the out-of-pocket comments, the arguments, the circular discussions, the moments where Maya yells at someone for peeking during a blind vote, the moments where we grieve over the smallest copy or layout error. Spec has given me a family, a voice, a home, a safe space. It’s where I found my best friends. It’s where I feel safe to express my opinions in the loudest and wildest way possible. It’s where I found the courage to write openly about my identity and to use my writing to advocate for the changes I needed to see. It’s been the biggest highlight of my Stuyvesant experience and being an editor will probably be the best job I’ll ever have.
The Spectator has afforded me this great opportunity to learn a new fact from every article I’ve edited, every staff-ed discussion we’ve had, every time someone has shared a piece of news during newsbeat. Don’t restrict yourself to the idea that learning only comes from one source; expose yourself to different perspectives and humble yourself to the idea that there’s something to learn from everyone. You’re surrounded by a great city so go out and explore. Learning isn’t restricted to the four walls of a classroom, rather it’s about making yourself open to the world and that begins at Stuyvesant where you’re surrounded by talented students of different backgrounds and various clubs where you can start a new skill. At the end, I guarantee you that you might forget a random fact someone shoved down your throat in AP European History, but you’ll remember the first article you wrote, the first dance move you learned, the first STC show you went to, or even a conversation you had with the halal cart guy.
I leave The Spectator humbled by fellow editors who’ve taught me so much and I’ll never forget that every moment of learning I’ve had during my time here has also acted as a moment of bonding. So, my advice to you, is don’t treat grades as a metric of your success but rather learn to accept that learning is valuable in and of itself and there’s no one way to do it. The important thing is that you should enjoy your time here by opening yourself up to the numerous possibilities and making friends along the way, rather than concentrating on having everything figured out.
P.S. Thank you to the Opinions department for giving me the privilege of being part of your work during the past year. I’m so so proud of you all and hope you can continue to kindle the fire of our great department. Also, thank you to my co-editors, Anisha, Gulam, and Ivy. I’ll miss arguing with you during pasteup calls 😭
What lies at the end of the road? After seven semesters of sleepless nights and Celsius-fueled school days, I finally know that the answer is nostalgia. As I look back on the past four years of memories—the long conversations with friends on the train, the rush of anticipation just before stepping onto the stage at SING!, the lively chatter of room 615E—I want nothing more than to live it all over again.
In much the same way that the pandemic crept up on the world in my freshman year, the end of my high school years creeps up on me now as an almost-second-term-senior. Your time will come too, so cherish each moment while you still have it. Amid the seemingly endless stress that comes with being a Stuyvesant student, there will undoubtedly be a lot on your mind. Don’t let these preoccupations keep you from savoring the memories you make along the way. Hug your friends a little tighter, laugh a little louder, and worry a little less.
Ultimately, it’s not the grades you get or the accomplishments you rack up that matter, but the experiences you have and the connections you make. Through the best and the worst of times, remember that you’ll only go through this journey once. The community at this school is unlike any other. My time within it has truly been transformative, and I hope yours will be too.
Four years is a long time, but it happens to pass by so fast. One day, you’ll be walking out of biology class, the next, you’ll be on the graduation stage. One thing I really regret is not taking enough pictures or videos to capture the memories I’ve made in high school. I’ve explored the city, experienced the most amazing school events, like SING! and StuySquad, and have had the funniest conversations with friends. While living in the moment is amazing, I also wish I could have a tangible recollection of these experiences.
So, my advice to underclassmen is to cherish your time in high school while you still have it, and to make sure that you leave high school with a camera roll of over 5,000 photos. I’m really grateful for everyone that has helped me through my four years, and I hope to spend infinite more years with all the friends I’ve made. It’s hard to say goodbye, but it is also inevitable. So, thank you, and goodbye.
P.S. it’s okay to ditch your responsibilities and have fun sometimes… you won’t regret it.
I’ll tell you what—Stuyvesant is great (in its own twisted, extraordinary way). It’s a shame most of us realize that only toward the end of our high school journey. You’ll meet some of the best people here. You’ll have some of your best moments here. You’ll also have the most important moments here—those filled with sadness, reflections, and opportunities to grow and get better in every respect. Cherish the people, and cherish every moment.
Now, as an editor, one of my tasks is to avoid redundancy. So, to avoid being redundant, I’ll close off here. Everything else I could share and any other tidbits of wisdom I could impart can be found upstairs. Enjoy your time here. You know what to do, so do them. You know what not to do, so don’t do them. Have fun, and all the best!