Subverting (or Supporting) Stereotypes

What stereotypes do we encounter as Stuyvesant students? Are they true?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What stereotypes do we face as Stuyvesant students? And the bigger question: are they accurate?

“That we’re really smart, have no social life, and do drugs.”—Julia Shen, freshman

“There is this stereotype that we are ruthless people who kill ourselves over getting the best grades. We stab each other in the back, and we have no lives. I like to think this is far from the truth, [though] yes, we fit the stereotype of overachievers. There is a community that our ‘stereotype’ could never fit; we support each other whether by sharing study guides or having a peer tutoring system in place. There are so many different activities to follow that your life is full of something you enjoy, and if not, you can always find someone who is a kindred spirit.”—Aki Yamaguchi, junior

“Asian mothers in Queens think Stuy kids never have to study, which just makes me so mad. We are regular people, and we struggle too.”—Theresa Teng, senior

“When I tell someone I attend Stuyvesant, they are always quick to assume that I’m a mini Einstein. They jump to the conclusion that I am capable of doing things that I am not capable of. While it doesn’t offend me, it makes me feel inadequate.”—Inga Edwards, junior

“There were these stereotypes even before entering Stuyvesant. Every time I told people I had gotten accepted, they immediately jump to the conclusion that I must be a genius. People tend to assume the Stuyvesant students are all super-competitive and obsessive about grades. On a personal level, I feel that this underlying extreme stereotype definitely affects my performance at Stuyvesant. I feel that I must uphold the ‘reputation’ of Stuyvesant, and this definitely serves to make me feel more stressed about grades than I know I have to.”—Liana Wu, freshman

“Before entering Stuy[vesant], I was told that Stuy[vesant] students could only choose two of three elements that made up the perfect high school trifecta: mental health, social life, and grades. Upon entering Stuy, I realized that this stereotype was more ingrained into the fabric of Stuy[vesant]'s culture than I had originally thought as an incoming freshman, and that it was partially true. Reflecting on this stereotype now as a junior, I've come to realize how much it had affected me in that it had slightly taken away parts of my motivation and drive before I had even stepped into the school.”—Caroline Ji, junior

“One stereotype is that all Stuy[vesant] kids think that they're better than everyone else, which I feel like just simply isn't true. Sure, there are definitely some Stuy[vesant] kids who feel that way, which is kind of stupid not gonna lie, but for the most part, the majority of Stuy[vesant] kids are pretty down to earth and honestly some of the nicest people I've ever met.”—Kelly Wu, junior

“I feel like a lot of people outside the school think that anyone here will do anything to succeed, and we don’t. I feel like most of us do try our hardest, work honestly, and put the effort in.”—Leo Kwok, senior

“A major stereotype of Stuy[vesant] students is the assumed aim for Ivy League. It’s sometimes considered shameful to go here and not apply to those prestigious schools. I think it’s honestly unfair to put so much pressure on young kids, and [it] is unrealistic that all of us will aim so high, and unnecessary too, depending on what you want to do in life. I’ve come to realize that I really don’t want Ivy League after going through such a struggle at Stuy[vesant]. I want a different lifestyle for college. I think another major thing is that we’re all expected to have everything figured out by now.”—Alyssa Sulaiman, junior

“A stereotype at Stuyvesant would be that there’s a lack of sleep among the students. While it is partly valid, I think [we] students sometimes feed into the stereotype and cause an even greater lack of sleep. Sometimes, an already existing stereotype is the cause of the worsening of the problem at hand.”—Lamia Haque, junior

“Well there[’s] so many. I guess some might be our dependency on coffee, obsession with grades, no social life, and we’re all a bunch of nerds who can’t dress ourselves. I guess there’s also the notion that we hate the other specialized high schools, especially Brooklyn Tech or Bronx Science.”—Jenna Mackenroth, sophomore

“People think that Stuy[vesant] students are nerdy kids who are only focused on grades, and this stereotype is semi-accurate because they aren’t all that nerdy, but Stuy[vesant] does have a very competitive environment where people are always trying to transfer into easier teachers and classes just for the grade.”—Nihaluz Zaman, senior