For many students, June is a month that signifies the end of the school year and the beginning of summer. In the case of graduating students, the end of the school year means the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. Unfortunately, the lives of two Caltech students were recently cut short as they were both victims of suicide shortly before the end of the term.
Sadly, senior Jackson Ho-Leung Wang, a mechanical engineering student from Hong Kong, died in his dorm room less than 48 hours before he was to receive his diploma, according to the article from the LA Times. His suicide followed that of junior Brian Go, a computer science and applied and computational mathematics major from Maryland who died just three weeks earlier.
A little about the two students, taken directly from other sites on the internet:
Jackson Wang [via HKSA, presumably written by himself in third person]:
Jackson (or Jack, take your pick) is just a regular Caltech student going about his normal business. During the year, half of his time is spent on pointless computations of stresses and strains. To cope with depression from inability to carry out these computations, he is known to escape to his favorite retreat, at the piano, to play 20th and 21st century classical music for hours on end, so at any given moment chances are he will be found there. He has also been observed to drown himself with boxes of Vitasoy. For a bit of trivia, insiders’ information has shown that he is prone to making random statements in French. If you are in the mood to please, a dish of authentic Kung Pao chicken has been shown to suffice, although in the case that all you have is the fake, you would be well advised to hold back.
Brian Go [via his own website]:
•I read Reddit, Reddit: Programming, and The Washington Post.
•I drive a 1974 Vespa 150 VBC Super.
•I listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Third Eye Blind, Angels and Airwaves, Maná, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Maroon 5, among others.
•I enjoy fencing and playing drums.
•My favorite books are For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Great Gatsby.
•I am an Eagle Scout from NCAC Boy Scout Troop 255.
•I am an avid player of the board game Diplomacy. My play record (all in-house games) is below.
-Aug 08 (Loss (England) to France, Germany, England).
-Jun 08 (Win: Austria, England, France),
-Mar 08 (Win: England, Russia, Austria, Turkey),
-Feb 08 (Win: Italy, England, Austria),
-Jan 08 (Win: Germany, Austria, France, Turkey),
-Dec 07 (Win: England, Austria, Turkey).
According to the L.A. Times:
In recent years, campus mental health problems have been rising nationally, a product of the growing stress of university life and the increasing number of students who arrive at college already under treatment for mental illness, university psychologists and officials say. Across the country, about 1,300 college students a year commit suicide, experts say.
Caltech has extensive counseling and suicide prevention services, and students seek help with problems ranging from mood and anxiety disorders to breakups.
Both of these suicides highlight the importance of an “institutional safety net” that schools should provide to for students in need of help. We may never know what motivated these two young men to take their own lives, but suicide is a recurring topic here on 8Asians because it is something that seems to afflict our community over and over again.
Condolences to the friends and loved ones of both Jackson and Brian; may they rest in peace.
h/t: Liz Fong