Have No Fear: Spec’s Freshman Handbook Is Here!

Stuyvesant students’ advice for incoming freshmen.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Heading into high school in an era of Zoom calls and Google Meets makes getting to know a school community quite daunting. It can feel distant when only whiffs of disinfectant —instead of the usual coffee or robotics bake-sale treats—drift through the hallways. Or when the droning of computers masks the usual hustle and bustle, laughter and chatter of our hallways. Despite the challenges in our new environment, we hope to bring a little of the Stuyvesant community to you.

First and foremost, junior Khjusta Umama advised not to rely on the escalators as “they don’t work half the time.”

Other warnings come from sophomore Sarah Ibrahim, who jokingly advised, “Don’t play bassoon. Your lungs will thank me.”

All jokes aside, despite the work Stuyvesant students put into band and other extracurriculars, many say they're invaluable. Junior Janiu Cheng strained this importance, saying, “Join clubs! Join anything as soon as possible. It's a great way to make friends and feel like part of the school community.” Indeed, joining various clubs and sports can help you both further your interests and meet incredible people. So try out a bunch, and who knows, maybe you’ll even fall in love with the bassoon!

On a different note, while it’s great to try out new things, both academic classes as well as extracurriculars, many Stuy students strongly suggest prioritizing mental health. Junior Syeda Zahan said, “Mental health over anything, that should be your top priority. One bad grade does not define your future [or] how smart you are.” Many other students agreed, recommending to take care of yourself and advising that while it’s easy to get lost stressing over grades, it’s all secondary to your well-being.

Junior Yaqin Rahman further stressed this: “Make sure you genuinely enjoy what you're doing, and do what you love. It's a stressful and rigorous school, but Stuyvesant is also a high school; you're allowed to be a high school student here.” Rahman emphasized the importance of having the right mindset when it comes to grades and also brought up another huge piece of advice: do what you're passionate about.

Senior Jonathan Xu agreed: “If you're only taking a class for AP credit or looks, don’t.” Instead, “take fewer classes, spend less time being forced to study something, and more time studying whatever you want in your spare time.”

So while you might have to figure out some aspects of Stuyvesant yourselves, like the iconic Ferry’s versus Terry’s debate, hopefully some of these snippets of advice, from basson to mental health, make the Stuyvesant community feel a little more like home.