In my previous post I wrote about Patrick Turner, the 16 year-old who had surprisingly committed suicide the previous weekend. We learned he had written three notes prior addressing the reasons which drove him to make this decision. The primary motive for ending his life was clear. Pressure. Pressure to perform academically. Even though he was a sophomore, he didn’t think he could make it out of his pit of despair. I found this tale unimaginable.
I soon discovered out how clueless I was. An astounding 1.2 million people viewed the post. It shut down the site. I do not credit my writing in the least. This had to do with the notes Patrick had so thoughtfully penned. It revealed an intelligent, thoughtful young man.
I quickly learned that this issue of this kind of pressure pushing our young people over the edge is not a geographical issue. It is a national issue. I received over 200 comments. They came from all over America. There were many parents who had gone through a suicide of a child. There were educators, administrators, as well as students. All saying the same thing. There is a BIG problem. Princeton, New Jersey, Danville, California, Atlanta, Georgia, and Coppell, Texas were a few cities represented.
I serve on Sunday’s in my church’s high school ministry. Nearly every student I spoke with on Sunday knew of at least one student who had taken their life for this reason. How is this possible? Why isn’t this recognized? After reviewing various data, I noticed that there was a major piece of information missing. Deaths of high school students. Sure, teen suicides were stated, but not one government agency could tell me how many HS students have taken their life this year. We know how many people of been killed in the war, we know marriage statistics for ten years ago, but we don’t know how many kids are committing suicide. Am I asking too much?
The CORE curriculum, parents, community, schools, society were all reasons the readers said were responsible for what happened. Not me. I solely put all of the blame is on the college admission process. The “process” has become a nightmare for students.
A college admissions consultant recently wrote about how this sprint to get into an elite college has ended up making applicants all look the same. Perfect GPA, high SAT, president of a school club, leader of a trip abroad during summer, one sport, placed in the math Olympiad or national science fair. And most of them will NOT get into the college they want to. The competition is too strong. Is that crazy? I would have given my left arm for a perfect GPA, never mind the other accolades. And it’s not enough. WOW!
If these superstars don’t get in where they want, what chance to do you have?
In my next post I will look at the actual admission process and see what if any chance there is to change.