A lesson from student's suicide

Updated: 2014-05-08 08:06

(China Daily)

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A postgraduate student of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong province committed suicide recently despite having an outstanding academic record because he was reportedly worried about the possible delay in his academic career and the difficulty in finding a suitable job. Apart from other factors, the fragile self-esteem of the student, surnamed Cai, drove him to commit suicide, says an article in Changsha Evening News. Excerpts:

Reports say that Cai was highly perseverant when it came to academics and had the spirit to take on difficult tasks, which are praiseworthy qualities in any youth. Yet his seemingly strong but fragile self-esteem prevented him from looking at the future with optimism. Since Cai could not finish his dissertation on time, he blamed himself for the possible delay in getting his diploma.

Self-esteem helps a person to work with determination, make unhindered progress and live an independent life. Self-esteem also boosts a person's self-respect and fighting spirit. But when self-esteem crosses the limit of possibility, it inflicts injury on the self.

Extreme self-esteem and its direct derivative-the desire to excel in everything that one does-are the culprits that forced Cai to end his life. He would not have taken the extreme step had he faced setbacks and frustrations during his school life, because they would have taught him to tolerate others and forgive himself; they would also have taught him to lower his expectations.

An overly smooth life could in fact be dangerous. Some setbacks could open a window for people to laugh at the ups and downs in life. Suicides on campuses, though infrequent, should perhaps prompt education authorities to devise syllabi in such a way that no student gets a smooth ride through his/her academic career.

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(China Daily 05/08/2014 page9)