Three students have committed suicide on the Cornell campus recently, including two last week, by jumping from bridges over the numerous gorges which run through campus.
The mood is somber.
We need to do a better job helping students keep life in perspective.
We place so much pressure on our young people to achieve at an early age. When I was in high school, college was viewed as a place to find oneself. Now, we expect high schoolers to know exactly what they want to do, and by the time they get to college, the pressure can be enormous.
There never really is a satisfying explanation when a young person commits suicide. But we need to look as much at ourselves and the educational system we have created, as at the particular student.
Update 3-17-2010: Here is a very interesting history of suicide at Cornell. The net-net is that while Cornell does not exceed national averages, the nature of the gorges makes the suicides more visible, leading to the mythology that Cornell has a high suicide rate.