Where is the exit for KAIST?
Last Friday, all classes at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) were cancelled to condole for a student who killed himself, and to also condole itself on this tragedy.
The week before last, a KAIST senior jumped from the 15th floor of a school building. Once again, the incident brought the serious question back to us: Why are there so many suicides at KAIST these days? Is it because of KAIST, or because of its students? As a foreign student at KAIST, I have some words to say on both sides.
First, KAIST’s current policies have problems on admission, teaching and scoring. The current admission policy isn’t systematic enough to filter out students who are not qualified to study at KAIST. It just focuses on students who have talents in one specific area or subject. It doesn’t mind whether those students can study other subjects, which are also mandatory to graduate.
If KAIST wants to give chances to these talented individuals, it must change the teaching policy. They need to have some pre-college semesters. In these semesters, students will prepare for subjects they are not good at. This will take more time to graduate, but will ease the pressure. Less pressure will lead to higher study and life quality. And of course, graduating somewhat late is far better than to live and study under great stress, let alone commit suicide.
KAIST’s relative scoring system is not good, either. A relative scoring system can be understood that a student’s grades depend not only on how good they are, but also on how good their classmates are. A class has to have some students graded A, some B, and some C. If you choose a class that has many superior students in that subject, no matter how hard you try, you will receive a low score. It is like a monkey would score high in a climbing class, but low in swimming.
The other point I want to make is about the students. My fellow students, please don’t think that I am teaching you how to live your life, as this is just sharing my thoughts with you. In life, there are many stages; “A flow will have an ebb.” There are glory times as well as dark times for all of us.
If you don’t believe that there are dark times, just look at the tragedies of your peers. When you have problems, there are also others in and outside your school who also have problems. There are many other ways rather than going to the other world.
If you can’t stand it, just take a break, go somewhere else, talk to others. You are not Superman, so you cannot achieve all you want even if you do your best. Nor should you imitate others by jumping out of the window. If the things I say are useless and you still decide to kill yourself anyway, why don’t you try the things you were going to do but haven’t had time, or haven’t dared to do yet before the final act?
Those things can be to talk to a girl you like and tell her how you feel, travel, play an instrument, write books to share your knowledge with future generations, cook, draw, play with animals, or disappear for a period of time and wait to see what will happens to your friends and family. You will die anyway, so there are no reasons for hurrying.
In conclusion, I just want to say that both KAIST and its students must look at themselves and take serious actions to solve the problem rather than blaming each other. Life is too short to be wasted on blaming one another.
The writer is a KAIST student. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.