Internet Troubles Trouble Stuy

Stuyvesant students and teachers explain their experiences with not being able to access the internet after Spring Break.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

On a Wednesday, still reeling from the end of the break, students and teachers alike were subject to what some would consider torture. The Sophomore Bar was clean for an extended time during break, so Stuyvesant’s rats lost their food source. The ferocious rats chewed through the school's internet cables, leaving the school without wifi and in shambles until this Monday. In today's digital world, it was an unhappy welcome back into school. Students complained of emotional whiplash from scrolling on Instagram for 10 hours at home to zero hours at school. Teachers reported that the wifi issue is the reason they haven't been able to submit grades on JupiterEd all year. Guidance counselors witnessed multiple student breakdowns over not being able to submit assignments right before class. One anonymous junior shared their mortifying Spanish class experience with us.  

“Yeah, it was awful. Usually during Spanish, I use SpanishDict as I go but the website wouldn’t load. I got cold-called and I panicked and just started singing ‘La Cucaracha’. People formed a conga line but I don't think my teacher was amused.”

“I was a nervous wreck because I couldn’t remember the last verse but the vibes depended on me. Like these freshmen heard my singing from outside the room and they just came in and joined the conga line. Do you know how embarrassing it is to be the reason a 30 person conga line has to stop? I ended up singing it three times in a row without the last verse because I didn’t know when to stop. When everyone stared at me once I stopped singing, I wished I was the cucaracha” the student lamented.

Aside from student routines getting disrupted, teachers were also frustrated. When our team interviewed the Spanish teacher from that class, it was clear she shared similar sentiments. “Safe to say I was not amused. My ex-boyfriend had a La Cucaracha doorbell and I got a rush of bad memories. Just hearing the first few notes brings me back to him kicking me out at 2:00 A.M. after I told him that Michael Scott from ‘The Office’ shouldn’t be his role model. We need the internet back,” Ms. Cansados said with a sigh.

“That does sound… harrowing. Were you not more upset about how you couldn’t use your laptop or that your student relies on SpanishDict?” I asked.

“Of course I was upset about how most of my students can't hold a conversation in Spanish even though it's May. I even made them sign up for Duolingo, and that owl scares kids more than I do. I'm fine without my laptop because I canceled my HBO subscription so I don't need it at school anymore. But having to be reminded of that time of my life was definitely the worst part.”

Luckily, other students found the lack of internet to be a valuable experience. One freshman felt it was a rare chance to disconnect from social media.

Cillian Goose remarked, “Yeah, I could never focus on class when Instagram was working. I would get flooded with DMs every period”.

“Can you elaborate on what you mean by ‘DMs’?”, I asked.

“Yeah sure. It’s just like everyone in this school can’t keep their eyes off of me. They message me constantly with updates about how they feel about me. Like they’ll tell me, ‘You participate so well,’ ‘Cillian, I can’t stop staring at your hair,’ ‘Cillian, I just interacted with a TikTok that said it was a love spell so we can get married’. That kind of thing,” he shrugged.

Cillian’s newfound ability to focus in class sheds light on one of the perils of internet access. Instantaneous messaging and the gratification that accompanies it can leave illustrious students, like Cillian, feeling burdened. High-value students like Cillian feel the need to be grateful for these compliments that pare down students to superficial features instead of their intelligence.

“This was clearly an academic burden lifted off of your shoulders. Did you feel like your performance in class and your mental health were better that week without Wi-Fi?”

“Definitely. I finally didn’t have to deal with the fact that my natural aura was so distracting for others. It makes me feel bad sometimes because my fans are just obsessed with me. But I didn’t choose this life, and no one puts Cillian Goose in the corner,” Cillian remarked.

Another teacher, Mr. Schuesten, also enjoyed reconnecting with a non-digital age. “It was so freeing to have a reason not to respond to my emails. Students are always begging me over email to give them extensions or to change their grades,” he sighed. “But this lack of internet was a blast from the past. I can’t remember the last time students came sniveling to me about their grades in real life. With the Wi-Fi, my office hours are just filled with kids asking questions or for letters of recommendation. Without Wi-Fi, my office hours are filled with desperation that only comes from ‘50s and ‘60s and late homework. It’s amazing.”

All in all, the lack of Wi-Fi has had profound effects on the Stuyvesant community. While it affected students and teachers both negatively and positively, there is no doubt that it brought Stuyvesant together. Without the use of Wi-Fi in school, entire new dimensions of Stuyvesant were exposed. A passion for dance, a traumatic experience with a children’s song, the pains of raw magnetism, and the entertainment factor of student pain do not need a signal to pulse through our halls.