Dear Incoming Classes of 2024 and 2025… The Editorial Board Has ADVICE

As a freshman or sophomore preparing to enter the classroom as a Stuyvesant student for the first time, you’ve certainly heard advice thrown at you from every direction. Our first piece of advice? Read on!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

1. Expand Horizons

Though some find themselves entirely fulfilled by the drudgery of mindless schoolwork, others—strangely enough—will seek something more from their high school experience. Something to make it meaningful and enjoyable. The key to truly enjoying Stuyvesant is appreciating and making connections with the people around you, which could mean befriending peers in your classes but also taking steps to explore extracurriculars that will often put you in contact with a wider range of people to grow close to. For the shy folks out there, don’t panic. Initiating socialization, whether in a class, club, or team, may be uncomfortable. Recognize that the discomfort is temporary and that the people you meet may become the reason you look forward to coming to school.

2. You’re One Smart Cookie

You are smart. You are the best of the best (you are at Stuy), and most of you have been getting straight A+’s for as long as you can remember. We hate to break it to you, but this will change. At some point, you will not get an A+, whether it is an 85 in English or a 72 on a math test. It will happen, but that’s okay. It happens to the best of us.

To get through Stuy with your mental health relatively unscathed, you are going to have to rethink your definition of failure. While a 90 may have been unthinkable in middle school, it will be commonplace at Stuy. Though you might be disappointed for not getting a 100, a 90 is not a bad grade. We repeat, a 90 is not a bad grade. No matter what your parents or peers might say, you will survive. Even if you receive an F, you will still survive. All of us have failed a homework, test, or quiz, and yet we are still here to tell the tale.

Instead, look at the larger picture. Even if you get an F or a D on a test, you must remember that it is just one test in high school. Your future employer will not ask you if you got an F on a test. All you have to do is pick yourself back up and try again. Remember, you are smart.

3. Stuy or Die?

As a Stuyvesant student, you will inevitably face long nights and immense workloads. This much is known. As such, it is easy to take pride in your sleep-deprived, zombified state or the piles of homework assignments that await you at home. Avoid this feeling at all costs.

The tight-knit community at Stuyvesant is partially built around our shared experiences getting through tough workloads, not relishing in them. No bragging rights can be attained by padding your schedule with unruly classes, flaunting your sleep deprivation to classmates, or showing off your busy exam schedule for next week. Instead, find pride in settling into a healthy sleep routine, getting ahold of classes, and creating a productive school-life balance.

In short, don’t succumb to “Stuyvesant Culture.” Rise above!

4. Keep it Light

Bleak place, this “Stuyvesant.” Let it be known that we students take the values of our school’s eponym, Peter Stuyvesant, to heart. Chief among these values? “Rigidity of religious belief” and “draconian governance.” Ask yourself, is it in keeping with my school values for me to crack a joke? To smile? To laugh? NO.

And yet, there are exceptions. Oftentimes, a joke in class is just what everybody needs, teachers and students alike. Barring anything truly graphic, your joke ought to be a great hit. It is difficult for all of us soldiers of Stuyvesant to shoulder our heavy packs and trudge down the long, dark road. A little brightness can only help guide the way.

5. Take Care of Yourself

It is easy to get lost in the midst of our textbooks and laptops studying and working constantly, but that is not an excuse to neglect your physical and emotional health. Stuyvesant should not consume you because burnout is very real. Therefore, take breaks when you need them. Find something you enjoy doing, and treasure it. Keep it tucked safely in your back pocket as something to turn to when you are feeling burnt out or as a reward for completing other tasks. Taking some time to recharge and focus on something you like will leave you feeling better and more productive in the long run. We all need breaks, after all, and constantly denying yourself them will only exacerbate your hardships.

And even if you don’t feel like it, do eat your breakfast in the morning and lunch in the afternoon. Take snack breaks when you need them. Hydrate. These meals provide the nourishment you need to pull through each day, even if it doesn’t feel appealing to eat in the early, early morning.

6. See Points One Through Six!

Yes, you go to Stuyvesant. Yes, you can be proud of that. We’ll allow it. With that said, you should not feel as if you must go through it alone. Seeking advice is not a sign of weakness, personal or academic. Your guidance counselor and your Big Sibs have been designated to assist you through any problems you may encounter to the best of their ability. Upperclassmen, whether you believe it or not, do not have it out for you. Big Sibs have a wealth of knowledge regarding how to navigate Stuy, and they want to help.

Further, it’s overwhelmingly likely that when you become upperclassmen, you’ll be thankful to have developed a relationship with your guidance counselor. How to do so in the first place? Ask them questions and shoot them e-mails. Most guidance counselors also have their doors open for visits during the school day, so consider stopping by (they don’t bite!). If you don’t feel entirely comfortable approaching the aforementioned figures, consider talking to a teacher you trust during times of uncertainty or frustration.