Suicides in KAIST
KAIST, which became the focus of much attention last year due to five suicides, has again suffered the loss of another student who took their own life. The press attributes the cause of these deaths to extreme competition within the institute. People outside KAIST also consider students here as pitiful studying machines living in a heartless and competitive society.
However, we’ve had a normal life and are proud of studying in KAIST. Owing to outside people including the press, we have become pitiful and pathetic students. But we live like any other college students drinking all night, doing assignments with friends, dating, and are busy with extracurricular activities.
Stress caused by competition exists in many communities in Korea. Fathers get stressed from competition at their workplaces, the youth get stressed from competition in the job market and middle and high school students are under stress due to competition for better high school and university entrance scores. In other words, stress from competition is not only a problem in KAIST.
After the suicides, KAIST students changed many attitudes. We have evolved into mature competitors who look out for the friends we study with and reach out to those in need. Furthermore, we have the chance to think seriously about what true happiness is.
A competitive society based on only evaluating grades and performance alienates people who fall behind the competition. This can be interpreted as the cause of the increasing suicide rate. The suicide rate is especially serious for teenagers who have weaker mental resistance than adults. Now, KAIST will offer direction and solutions to the social problems of a competitive society. Step back, watch and encourage us.
Department of Chemistry, KAIST