Stuyvesant Students’ Terrifying Tales

What terrifies students about Stuyvesant, especially following the return, or for some, entrance to in-person learning.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stuyvesant High School looms over Chambers Street, intimidating all those who walk past it. But students are the ones who not only pass under the shadow of the hulking colossus but enter into its gaping maw to experience the full wrath of the building. The terror begins period one: “I’m scared of being late to class,” sophomore Eugene Park divulged. She noted that some teachers have embarrassed or even shouted at her for walking in late. Stuyvesant’s terrifying aspects hardly end when one walks into the building. Some students note the scary number of younger classmates who are in advanced classes: “There's a kid in my Spanish 1 class who is taking pre-calc as a freshman,” freshman Elizabeth Kolbasko said. Many students at Stuyvesant feel as though their classmates are on a heightened and unattainable level when it comes to their academics. Some feel insecure, or even embarrassed, about their intelligence (or perceived lack thereof). “I'm obviously most terrified of not being as smart as my classmates: [...] I might say something wrong and everyone will think that I’m stupid. [...] I frequently get imposter syndrome,” freshman Ibtida Khurshed said.

Along with these day-to-day Stuyvesant terrors comes the difficulty of maintaining adequate grades. Especially with the minimal number of high-stakes assessments students receive, each assignment represents a high percentage of students’ grades. “What terrifies me about Stuyvesant is getting bad grades. Because even if you have really good grades, there’s always that one test that you get a bad grade on and it [...] brings down your entire average,” sophomore Lisia Edwards said. Especially with extracurriculars added into the mix, the fear of burnout is always present. “I feel like there’s a lot of pressure coming from teachers and classes, in addition to the collective feeling of trying to stockpile work and extracurriculars, and I feel like I carry so much that one day it’s all just going to pile onto my shoulders and I’m going to crash and burn,” sophomore Lucien Clough said.

Stuyvesant is terrifying for everyone, but the fear is amplified for the new recruits, freshmen, who just recently entered the building for the first time. Freshmen are both intimidated by their classmates and their teachers, and the workload has required a lot of adjustment. “Advocating and asking for help is something I'm typically good at, but emailing and not getting responses from [teachers] or telling them in person and them not being a help whatsoever is kind of a mood killer,” freshman Reem Khalifa said. “Thinking back at how my life was in middle school just a couple of months ago, my life has completely turned.” She noted that, despite her fairly active social life, she still feels as though the adjustment has been difficult: “[Though] I have a pretty good social life and seem to have adjusted to Stuy so far, it feels like a huge pileup on my back.”

Additionally, students who are further along in their social journey at Stuyvesant have different fears about making new friends. Many fear drifting from their past classmates, while others do not feel that the social situation at their middle school adequately prepared them for that of a high school. “After beginning to meet new people at Stuy, I realized that I wouldn’t have as much time to hang out with [my elementary and middle school friends] anymore. What scared me was having to grow apart from my old friends to make room for new ones,” sophomore Chloe Tom explained. Freshmen had similar experiences: “[In middle school] I had really strong bonds with friends and everyone knew each other, so I never really got to experience ‘middle school.’ High school has been a big jump for me,” Khurshed said.

And finally, what most terrifies Stuyvesant students: other Stuyvesant students. From freshmen barreling through the hallways at top speed to make it to their next-period class on time to seniors crowding the entryways, Stuyvesant students are a unique breed. Especially after Spirit Week and Stuyloween of months past, some students have been spotted wearing rather alarming outfits. Students like sophomore Shruthi Krishnakumar were intimidated by the alarming number of costumed students roaming our halls. “[I’m really terrified by all of the] boys in catsuits,” she confided.

Even if you can manage to escape the potential terrors posed by other Stuyvesant students, there is still the building itself to be wary of. “The most terrifying thing is when the 2-4 is closed and you think someone lost another toe,” senior Catherine Pyne said. Between scary staff, grievous grades, and suspect students, it never hurts to be too cautious when navigating these hazardous high-school hallways. And if you are reading this at school: watch out. A boy in a catsuit could be right behind you.