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3RD SUICIDE hits Cornell in less than a month?...

CollegeBoundNYCCollegeBoundNYC Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
edited March 2010 in Cornell University
Fall Creek Gorge Suicides Have Cornell University on Edge - AOL News

Any other parents of applicants just a little worried at this point? I know I am!!! What is the atmosphere there like that these young bright kids are deciding to end their lives i'm wondering?
Post edited by CollegeBoundNYC on
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Replies to: 3RD SUICIDE hits Cornell in less than a month?...

  • collegekidsmomcollegekidsmom Posts: 265Registered User Junior Member
    This very sad situtaion hasn't changed our impression of Cornell. My hearts and prayers go out to the entire Cornell community. This is a reminder pay attention to our childrens mental health and level of stress.
  • cornellgrlsoph12cornellgrlsoph12 Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    As a current undergraduate student at Cornell, I thought addressing this matter might mean more to give some reassurance to parents and high school seniors who are considering Cornell/already accepted ED.

    Cornell truly is an amazing place. I mean this in the sincerest way. We have an incredibly warm, friendly, outgoing community that reaches out to our student body. I have never once felt alone while I was here. You'll walk on the streets, and strangers will say hello. One of the things that I think is so wonderful about Cornell is that it is more collaborative than competitive, so I don't feel like I'm in a stifling environment.

    I think the tragedies have come at such an unfortunate time. We are currently in prelim season (prelims are midterms at Cornell) and it is right before spring break, so assignment deadlines are heavier than the average week. I believe it was the elevated stress of this time that resulted in the tragedies.

    I just want to stress that Cornell isn't a pressure cooking/ depressing place to be in ANY WAY. Stress exists everywhere, in any university - it's merely how we deal with them. Cornell has many mental health services (EARS/CAPS/Gannett Health Center) that are available to students. We truly care about everyone so I hope that this helps students to think of their college acceptances with objectivity. Come to Cornell Days to see how welcoming we truly are!

    Please feel free to ask me any more questions you may have!
  • oldfortoldfort Posts: 16,581Registered User Senior Member
    There is a thread on the Parent Forum on this topic:
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/881699-cornell-deaths.html

    It maybe a better place for parents to discuss this topic. Many Cornell parents are participating in the discussion.
  • thenaturalthenatural Posts: 613Registered User Member
    can't they do something about that bridge? like cant they make the sides higher or something?
  • AnbuItachiAnbuItachi Posts: 1,348Registered User Senior Member
    its not really the bridge.. if someone wants to suicide.. they'll find a way
  • RaveskyRavesky Posts: 269Registered User Junior Member
    @ thenatural

    I was thinking the same thing, but according to that article ^ it would be difficult? idk
  • faustarpfaustarp Posts: 1,532Registered User Senior Member
    the railings are pretty high on all the fall creek gorge bridges. I really don't think there is any oversight there.

    also, AnbuItachi, one thing I have learned recently is that not everyone who tried to kill him or herself is totally set on it. many are ambivalent but turn to it in a time when they are incredibly low, and it's more of an impulse or a last resort. if they can survive these times with outside support, a crisis can be averted. that is why you should not just give up and say that there's no way to help someone who is feeling suicidal.
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Posts: 4,041Registered User Senior Member
    can't they do something about that bridge? like cant they make the sides higher or something?

    They actually added iron extension-bars to the suspension bridge around 30 years ago, to much public outcry in regards to ruining the views and aesthetics.

    You can see the new extension-bars, as well as the old railings, pretty well in this picture:

    Explore Cornell - Panos - Fall Creek

    The University decided to not add the same extension-bars to any of the other bridges on campus. At least not yet. And unless you build the sides over six feet tall, it's going to be pretty tough to deter a jumper. The suspension bridge was the locale of Friday's tragedy.
  • CollegeBoundNYCCollegeBoundNYC Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
    I think it goes beyond securing the bridge..as someone posted here if someone wants to committ suicide they will find a way I think the school needs to evaluate WHY this is happening so often and make some policy changes...perhaps mandatory workshops such as stress relief, yoga classes, counseling sessions all centered around this stressful exam period..doing away with the infamous curve system might also help relieve some pressure...not every student is going to get an A in every subject and they shouldnt be held to someone else's A, they should be able to be wherever they happen to be academically at that moment...I guess there is nothing to worry about until a letter comes homes but I want my first generation college D to enjoy the complete college experience and have fun outside of the library and classroom...A childhood friend of mine wrote to me, she went to NYU for undergrad, Fordham Law, and then post graduate school at Columbia and she said to me that of all the three Columbia has opened the most doors for her, she said the name of the school shouldnt matter but realistically in the world it does, and I think that may be a problem as well, these kids are putting alot of pressure on themselves for the "name" when they would have been happier and thrived at a different college...its tragic all around
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,541Registered User Senior Member
    This has nothing to do with Cornell's academics. Look at the median grades, they are VERY generous. Most colleges have curves. These suicides has nothing to do with Cornell's curving which is very fair (average GPA of 3.4 which is in line with other top colleges). Suicide and depression are not normal reactions to getting a B or C on a test. They are the result of mental illness. If the cause for the suicides are grades/exams, then outside of offering counselors, there's not much Cornell can do.
  • dgobblelewdgobblelew Posts: 25Registered User New Member
    Here is a well considered student opinion piece on the subject from today's Cornell Daily Sun. Echoes what my daughter ('11) has expressed...
    Opinion
    Confronting Tragedy
    March 16, 2010 - 2:35am
    By Steven Zhang

    E-Mail Print
    Discuss
    Share


    An important lesson that the recent tragedies have taught us is that suicide is not an underlying problem in and of itself, but merely a side effect. Although stationing guards at every bridge on campus is a short-term answer that addresses our recent losses, this myopic strategy is unviable and will not ameliorate our problem in the long-term. Instead, our efforts must be aimed at controlling the primary factors that lead to these tragic losses.

    First, we must realize that the academic and social environment of our University will always push us, faculty and students alike, to our physical and mental extremes: Our University’s culture is inherently competitive and stressful. It is not uncommon to see students dedicate hours of studying towards a single prelim only to receive unsatisfactory scores — a debilitating blow to our self-esteems that is only further exacerbated when we consider our intellect a large part of our individual identity. We have invested great efforts only to receive little reward. Nevertheless, most of us are rarely perturbed by our temporary shortcomings and we come out with more tenacity and motivation. And it is this intellectual vigor, which we will proudly display for the rest of our lives, that distinguishes our University from its many peers.

    However, it begs a long overdue question: How much of this demanding lifestyle can a student, regardless of his mental and physical capabilities, tolerate for several weeks at a time? Outside of winter and spring breaks and perhaps a fortuitous weekend absent of projects, papers and prelims, the academic season is a seemingly unending grind. This notion should prompt us to find a means to relieve our stress without sacrificing our core values. Perhaps it is time to consider implementing stress relief days for the entire University, including the students, faculty and staff, to take a break from work (as they do at MIT). After all, in order to uphold our University’s values, they must first be sustainable.

    Second, we must address our mental health programs. When implementing these programs, we cannot ignore the problematic characteristics of those who are depressed: Depression is an illness of mental and physical immobility, depriving its host of almost all motivation. Though we have received countless e-mails and pamphlets encouraging us to take advantage of these counseling resources, how much impact do these passive words have on those who truly need these services?

    Although we have numerous organizations offering counseling, they have been taking a passive and reactionary role. We cannot forget that the burden to emerge from depression rests upon the students in need; that is it up to them who must take the initial step to call the Gannett Health hotline, wait patiently to hear instructions from an automated voice and finally press “1” to reach the counseling services. We mustn’t forget that it is the students in need who must climb up the slope and then trek across the quad to find refuge in the Counseling and Psychological Services office on Ho Plaza. It is the students in need who must knock on the door of a resident or faculty adviser, but not before summoning the courage and will to confide in another person.

    Therefore, we cannot rely on these counseling services alone. Rather, we must take an active stance. Fortunately, the recent policy to aggressively seek out those in need was an admirable, albeit late, step by the University: A brief and simple reminder from a resident adviser or faculty will make all the difference. And I can only hope that we, the students, will also follow suit by adopting warmer and more open demeanors through the rest of our days here at Cornell. However, depression will have a constant presence on campus and our combined efforts are not only for the short-term.

    Finally, we must resist the temptation to become desensitized by these tragedies. It has become common practice to gloss over the proverbial elephant in the room when a suicide occurs. We are quick to write on Facebook walls and call friends and family members. And though our consoling words are naturally sympathetic reactions to these tragedies, they suggest that we perceive suicide as a normal response to our problems — a last resort that we will grudgingly accept after the act is complete.

    However, we all know that this implication is far from the truth, that we will never accept suicide as a solution. In fact, students should never even consider it as a response. We must cultivate a campus where suicide has absolutely zero presence. Though it is comforting to reminisce on extinguished relationships, remember the their special traits and revisit fond memories, we have to confront the amorality and indecency of the acts as well.

    The tragedies in these past weeks have cruelly forced us to reflect upon our mental health policies. But more importantly, it has reminded us that, during our time here at Cornell, we are one another’s most important support system and it is time we assume our responsibilities.

    Steven Zhang is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He may be reached at szhang@cornellsun.com. The Bigger Picture appears alternate Tuesdays this semester
  • CollegeBoundNYCCollegeBoundNYC Posts: 107Registered User Junior Member
    norcalguy - I think the article that dgobblelew posted sums up what I said pretty well and it was written by a current student which goes back to the point of the pressure cooker environment that is Cornell and what am I saying is that students need to think about that environment and whether that is something they can handle, not everyone who is bright is cut out for that type of stress. Don't just apply to a school for the "name" or because it would make your family happy, do your homework, research the academic environment and decide if it that is in fact for you. I have rarely seen on these threads students talk about the fact that they are applying to Cornell for the academic stimulation, I do however see many many posts about the "prestige" of being a Cornell student and how "cool" that would be..that is not the reason to attend a college and I think these are the kids who are overwhelmed when they get there. It's even more difficult of a transition for first generation college students...
  • monydadmonydad Posts: 6,249Registered User Senior Member
    "I think the school needs to evaluate WHY this is happening so often.."

    I'm sure they are investigating, but the thing to bear in mind is actually it is NOT happening so often, at least in comparison to academically challenging colleges generally.
    What you've got here is a particular instance of cluster suicides. This is a recognized phenomenon that occurs from time to time, in many places, probably with no more rhyme or reason than a depressed person gets the idea from what someone else there just did . Measured over a long period, the suicide rate there is not out of line.

    When these things have occurred before they have made changes. I was attending when they put the bars on the suspension bridge. The view is still spectacular, but frankly it was better before. The views of the gorges walking through the campus are inspiring, they move one's soul on a daily basis. It would be a shame if the best solution to this problem required a disconnect from the natural beauty that surrounds the campus.
    But I'm sure they will make some changes now as well.

    As for the workload/stress/ "pressure cooker"- Cornell was certainly a tough school when I was there, particularly for science & engineering majors IMO.
    I had that mindset when I went with D1 for her college visits. What I found was, at the schools she visited with the most comparable academic reputations, the students also reported being quite stressed. I came away from that with a revised opinion, that in fact there was no "free lunch' in academia with regard to academic demands vs. reputation. You will be tested at Cornell, but you should expect no less from the other top academic institutions in this country. IMO. That's partly why degrees from such institutions are respected by employers, etc. However I agree such environment is not best for everyone, and applicants should evaluate that aspect.
  • CayugaRed2005CayugaRed2005 Posts: 4,041Registered User Senior Member
    Don't just apply to a school for the "name" or because it would make your family happy, do your homework, research the academic environment and decide if it that is in fact for you. I have rarely seen on these threads students talk about the fact that they are applying to Cornell for the academic stimulation, I do however see many many posts about the "prestige" of being a Cornell student and how "cool" that would be..that is not the reason to attend a college and I think these are the kids who are overwhelmed when they get there.

    Excellent point.
  • gomestargomestar Posts: 4,699Registered User Senior Member
    "You will be tested at Cornell, but you should expect no less from the other top academic institutions in this country. IMO. That's partly why degrees from such institutions are respected by employers, etc"

    +1

    In my observations, students could really use a lesson in planning, organization, and time management. Students are superbly coddled these days, a shame when it comes to adapting to independent thought and action.
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