May Zhou – Tragedy at Stanford
Here is a strip of the news of the missing Stanford student:
A body discovered in the trunk of the car in a Santa Rosa Junior College parking lot was identified as that of missing Stanford University student Mengyao `May” Zhou, a Santa Rosa police spokeswoman said late this afternoon.
The spokeswoman said some items found in her vehicle “were consistent with a possible suicide.”
Zhou’s car, a silver Toyota Corolla, was found parked on the campus of Santa Rosa Junior College, the newspaper said.
Notice what was said about her:
Zhou, an accomplished student with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is assertive, happy and confident with her studies at Stanford, said her father. … Zhou was a National Merit Scholar at La Jolla High School and earned perfect SAT scores. She had a straight-A average throughout high school and earned the top score on all of her Advanced Placement tests.
Sad, especially it’s somebody from the same school and the same age as me, and much more accomplished. I got a few words to say… though I have no intent and am not making any judgement. Whether it is suicide, I sense some pain/stress/pressure involved for the girl through out her academics since I was kinda similar, until high school at least… a student always with excellent scores (not perfect like her), with Asian parents. I was certainly not a happy person. I just wonder, yes, we can be driven, she is definitely driven and successful… probably much have to do with the expectation of parents, but how much happiness actually fills the gaps of those time and how much/long can we endure – the constant stress/pressure to be perfect, the constant ever-growing expectation from parents/teachers/friends/peers, and burden that comes in social relations when one seems so perfect, etc…
Hence I became skeptic (again, I’m not judging) when her father says that she’s happy… is she really? Or rather, does he really know that she’s happy or what she feels? Perhaps he thinks she is happy because she is successful in his standard and therefore, she should feel happy. I guess what I want to say is that Asian cultural instinct of high academic requirement in parents has a tendency to cause negligence to the children’s real inner feelings. In other words, they think that, “as long as I teach you so you get a good education/degree, you’ll have a good future, and therefore you will be happy.”
Maybe this is the cause of tragedy…(disclaimer: again I am just hypothetically speaking) that she feels her closest people (parents) cannot understand… no one is reaching her heart… the feeling that she has no one to communicate to and share her sentiments and thoughts in a deeper level… making her very isolated… at least, when I myself realize that the closest people to me don’t really know me nor they care to, it’s pretty painful and I just have to forget about it. It’s the excruciating pain of absolute solitude. If I focus on that pain/feeling of isolation, I may just be angry at everyone and the world constantly. As a side-effect, I will go around causing pain for others, endure it however long possible and eventually, take my own life…
That is, how can we be happy when people automatically assume we are happy, which effectively create a non-understanding, dis-communicating environment around “us.” It’s a suffocating kind of loneliness.
Well, it’s late and I’m just jotting down thoughts w/o trying to organize much. I hope my words make some sense and you get something out of them. Perhaps someone else won’t have to feel what was described after their friends and family read this.
As last words, think about if what you are doing and will do in the future is really worth the sacrifice of happiness, or the happiness of others.
(Photo by Adam Pender)