A Time of Year to Ask “What could I have done better?”

It’s a fun time of year. The NCAA Tournament is going on which is the ultimate pass/fail test in sports. There are no second chances. As the saying goes “survive and advance.”

This year there are several higher seeds that won two games and are part of the Sweet 16. One of those schools is Cornell, an ivy league school located in the finger lake region of NY. Cornell earlier in the season gave number one seed Syracuse a test and also took recently beaten Kansas to the wire as well. They are a good team.

I’m from the finger lake region of NY as well and have been to Ithaca, the hilly city where Cornell is located. In 1999 I went to visit a friend who gave me a tour. We drove around the beautiful gorges where trees and streams create a serene atmosphere. Plenty of hiking trails are outlined. We pulled over to a particular bridge and my buddy said this is where the Cornell students kill themselves. What did he just say? Kill themselves? In the late 1990s Cornell experienced a rash of suicides. They responded with an education campaign and it was mostly effective… well, until recently.

There are six confirmed cases of suicides over the last few months. More than one occurred where we pulled over a little more than 10 years ago.

College can be stressful: being constantly measured and perfect is so rare. Kids are now tested just to get into kindergarten, so it isn’t surprising to see mental health issues arise periodically. Perhaps the economic environment has something to do with it. I don’t know.

The NY Times is running a blog called The Choice which is written by Eric Bates. He is outlining the anxiety felt over college acceptance. He rhetorically asks “What could I have done better?”


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