torsdag 5 november 2009

I'm off to Boston

Yo. Tomorrow I'm going to Boston with all of the exchange students from CALS. Since I won't be able to update my blog over the weekend, I decided to write something today, just so you know that I'm still alive.

Talking about life and death, Cornell has such a bad reputation. Earlier this week, Cornell Daily Sun reported the death of a PhD student, Lucas Wooster. According to the report, the police didn't suspect foul play or illness, which leads to only one logical conclusion: suicide. However, for a 32-year-old like Wooster who was scheduled to receive his doctoral degree this spring, a suicide attempt is completely irrational on the victim's part. At the end of this paper, a spokesperson from Cornell's health service urged students to seek support at Gannett's counseling and Psychological Service. The last line pretty much proved the point that Wooster committed suicide. Because Cornell is known as a place where students kill themselves, the school's newspaper purposely avoided using the word "suicide". For any of my beloved reader who may be reading this blog, don't worry about me. I'm not going to join the Club-of-No-Return.

Right now I kinda envy my exchange student friends who stay here for only one semester. They never have to worry about pre-enrollment, socializing or whatever. No matter how good or bad it goes for you, after one semester it's over. You can come here as a visitor, and after that, get back home and forget about everything. Lots of the things you see in the states are pretty fucked up compared to European standards. Having five students dying over one semester is something that never happens in Sweden. Things can get pretty hot around here.

Lately I encountered this smart-ass who kinda annoys me. Initially when we actually talked, he seemed to be a cool guy. I don't know what happened. Probably since I never had the time to talk to him again, or he considers me not "knowledgeable" for him, we grew apart. I for one, don't try to cram the whole wikipedia into my brain. If you don't know much about federal reserve for example (cos you are a foreigner from a non-English speaking country and never heard about it before), then the smart-asses take you as an idiot. Our smart-ass asked me once if I knew that Germany was number 4th on export, I said I didn't know but it won't surprise me cos Germany has advanced automobile industry. Guess what I found out the other day? Germany is the world fucking top exporter! He once claimed soccer has 9 players at a time. But the truth is, both American football and European football have 11 players on the field, I don't know where he got 9 from. He once said he knew Basshunter, when I showed him the video of "Boten Anna", the artist's major blockbuster, he said he never heard the song. For engineers and scientists, it's generally more important to get an understanding than reciting facts. A Swedish friend of mine who started off as freshman this year said he hated PSYCH 101 for its overwhelming factual content, cos "he came here to learn what makes sense, not becoming a walking database". The smart-ass talks with such a conviction as if he's never wrong. Anyway, he is quite unique, I've rarely seen anyone like him before.

Now to the conclusion. Recently I discovered some popular myths. They are not necessarily scientific ones, but related to the society. The Swedes generally consider Sweden as a high-ranked country in suicide rates. Statistically, however, Sweden is not even among the top 20. The prevalence of suicide is far worse in East Europe and Asia. Even in the developed part of Europe, Sweden is not that suicide-ridden. Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Denmark all come before Sweden. It might have to do with seasonal depression, that's why we think we are the most suicidal society on Earth. For anyone of you Swedes who hates Sweden for its mediocre economic impact, mediocre political influence and mediocre life, guess what? Now you'd better start hating Sweden's mediocre suicide rate!

3 kommentarer:

  1. Hmm ... I see that you have translated "lagom" into mediocre?
    The World Economics Forum actually ranked Sweden as the fourth most competitive economy in the world. (Apparently I can't paste any link in the reply ...) I have no idea how they came up with the scores at all, but it is quite interesting.
    Have fun in Boston!

  2. So would you suggest Cornell for exchange year? Anyway, wanted you to ask you a couple things about Uppsala uni. Give me a call or anything when you come back from Boston. Have fun!

  3. Arwen: mediocre is definitely not "lagom". Mediocre in English is somewhat negative and related to low quality or performance. The best translation of "lagom" in any language I know is "恰到好处". When coming to economy, I was referring to GDP. It would be interesting to see that report of yours. Can you post it on my fb?

    Ivy: let's talk this weekend. I just sent you wallpost. I'll write something about Boston tomorrow.