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Tian Bu, CC ’13, Has Passed Away

Tian Bu, a junior in Columbia College, passed away this weekend. After her family and friends were notified, Dean Shollenberger informed students of her death in an email. He writes: “With the death of Tian, also known as Tina by friends on campus, we grieve the loss of a caring and valued member of our community. Tian was a talented writer and a gifted artist and musician. She was involved in Quest, a national leadership organization, and was active in a campus Bible study group.”  Tina’s death is being investigated as a suicide.

At this tragic time, we remind you of our post last year called, “Something We Don’t Usually Do,” and the outpouring of solidarity in the comment thread. Please know, you deserve to feel like your best self, and there are people here to help. It can be difficult dealing with all this on your own, and we encourage you to reach out.

Counseling and Psychological Services (212-854-2878) is open until 11pm tonight.
Barnard’s Rosemary Furman Counseling Center (212-854-2092) has regular appointments from 9-5, and after-hours resources.
Nightline Peer Counseling (212-854-7777) is open until 3am.
RAs are available in all residence halls and may be reached by contacting the RA on-call.
The Office of the University Chaplain (212-854-1493), and the Center for Student Advising (854-6378) offer ongoing support.

And don’t underestimate the compassion, even empathy, of your friends.

We extend our deepest condolences to Tina’s family and friends. You’re welcome to leave your thoughts and prayers in the comments, but please use the space respectfully.


Update, 10/23/2012: A year later.

On the Sundial

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous wonder when this thing will pass over

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i went to elem. school with Tina she was a dear friend of mine. You could always catch a smile on her face very positive person talked about God. i was shocked to hear about this i didnt know she was depressed. i can relate i have been going through depression for about three years now and taking medication for it i told my doctor i did not want to be on the medication for the rest of my life. i will admit and have to my family that i have thought of doing something to myself but i did not follow through with it because i knew it was the Devil putting those thoughts in my head. For all of those who are saying that there are people who care and love you my question is did she know that? Because if you dont tell the person then how would she know? I’m just saying all it takes is to tell the person im here for you if you ever need to talk or a shoulder to cry on i love you and i am Praying for you. Whenever you feel alone and as if you have no one you always have God He is always going to be there to listen to you he hears your cry out for help He loves you. You are a Child of God. Tina my dear friend i wished i knew you were depressed and hurting i would have been there for you in anyway possible. i love you and you will be forever loved and missed. My prayers go out to the sweet Bu family.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous you can’t blame Columbia as an institution for Tina’s circumstance. its tragic, but making assumptions about why she did it is not fair.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I taught Tina when she was in Grade 7 and she was like a creative butterfly. She was brilliant and artistic in all areas and loved to make things for her friend. Tina was shy, with a sweet sense of humor. She worked hard at her families restaurant and tended to her siblings. Her loveliness will be missed. Prayers to family and friends.

  • BC14er says:

    @BC14er Hearing of this made me quite upset because it struck so close to home. One of my friends committed suicide at William and Mary (there were 3 suicides there last year). I had no idea she was struggling with depression because she seemed so happy. But when someone never has a shitty day and never claims to feel stressed, something’s wrong. Nobody can be happy go lucky all the time.
    I tried to take my own life after my sophomore year of high school. I took 30 pills of vicodin that I didn’t use when my wisdom teeth were pulled out. Ontop of that, I downed a bottle of cough syrup and a box of allergy meds. I woke up the next morning, and my mom took me to the doctor because she thought I had the flu. My resting heart rate was so low that they tested me on every machine before realizing something was wrong with me and not with the machine. At that point, I was in and out of consciousness. They started pulling blood and eventually I started crying and fessed up what I had taken. My parents were surprised. My doctor, who I had known for years, was surprised. I almost had to get a liver transplant. The chances of getting one was low because I would have been low on the list because I ruined mine with an attempted suicide. I saw what my parents went through. They’ve never acted the same towards me. They’ve never expressed their true opinion or set their expectations too high because that’s the triggering event to the suicide attempt. I had been struggling with an eating disorder for two years. 20% of the deaths that result from eating disorders are from suicides. Now I’m a sophomore in college and I still struggle with food. I went from anorexia to bulimia to compulsive overeating to overexercising to EDNOS. Nobody can tell because I “look” normal. They don’t notice that I spend three hours at the gym and manage to down an entire jar of peanut butter in one day. They don’t know that I make myself vomit in the shower. I’m on antidepressants. I spent last winter break at rehab for overexercising and had to lie to my friends, telling them that I was on a retreat or wellness seminar. Pills and therapy help, but every mental disorder is a battle that stays with you for life, fighting it is still a significant portion of your life. It takes away from my experience because I have to see doctors off campus twice a week. But I’m glad to be where I am. I’m alive. I have shitty days. I have better days. I have my ups and downs and sometimes I do imagine cutting my stomach open and ripping out all of the fat, but I’m able to rationalize and not act upon it. If you’re going through any of this. You’re not alone. I think I needed to say that to tell myself that I’m not alone, because I’m sure that there are others who have similar experiences to what I did.
    -Barnard 14er

  • A Columbia Parent says:

    @A Columbia Parent I am a parent of a happy Columbia Junior. Columbia is an amazing school and my child loves it there. My child is an average student who enjoys the community and friends, who enjoys just being on campus and learning from the diversity. Sure its competitive and could be demanding at times. But that is the case with any top school or college all over the world. And that is how it will be in life as the student move on into the real world. Success and competition are relative. Got to learn balance and contentment. Know your limits and seek guidance. Lighten your coursework, be content with a B or C, make lasting friends and build good memories. It saddened our hearts to hear this news about Tina. May her soul RIP and may her family find strength in knowing that she was such a lovely child who obviously brought so much joy to the people who knew her.

  • AColumbiaParent says:

    @AColumbiaParent I am a parent of a happy Columbia Junior. Columbia is an amazing school and my child loves it there. My child is an average student who enjoys the community and friends, who enjoys just being on campus and learning from the diversity. Sure its competitive and could be demanding at times. But that is the case with any top school or college all over the world. And that is how it will be in life as the student move on into the real world. Success and competition are relative. Got to learn balance and contentment. Know your limits and seek guidance. Lighten your coursework, be content with a B or C, make lasting friends and build good memories. It saddened our hearts to hear this news about Tina. May her soul RIP and may her family find strength in knowing that she was such a lovely child who obviously brought so much joy to the people who knew her.

  • c says:

    @c I just received this tragic news and I still cannot believe what happened. I was her teacher not so long ago. Tina was one of my best students and she was such a nice person. I would never have imagined this for her… I don’t even understand why she was depressed, not to mention how it became so bad that she lost hope in life altogether. Was it really the stress from course work? But she was doing so well! Was it because of the lack of friends or someone to talk to? Seemingly not the case either. What happened really baffles and saddens me. I hope that one day I can understand it and prevent it from ever happening again… My condolences go out to everyone who had the honor of knowing her. Tina, may you rest in peace. Lots of love and a big hug that I should have given you long ago…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous My heart and prayers are with Tina’s family and friends! I taught Tina in 5th grade and automatically saw her talent and giftedness! I was honored to be apart of these early years of her life, and I’ll always remember my artistic, helpful, witty, and sweet Tina!

    Tina’s death brings pain, grief, and many questions, but allow these emotions to motivate you to make a difference in the life of someone who still can make the choice for life!

    Blessings and peace to all!

  • msj says:

    @msj I was Tina’s friend and have known her for many years. She was miserable at Columbia University and felt alone and isolated. Mother Bear, follow your instincts as a mother and take your student home – you will never regret that decision. I only wish Tina had been able to see beyond the pompous ivy-league facade and come home to those who loved and valued her as the wonderful, kind and gentle person that she was. There are so many truly excellent universities where the people are genuine and caring and the students actually graduate, have careers, go to graduate school…. It doesn’t have to be ivy-league for you to obtain a first rate education. It baffles me as to why any parent would encourage their student to choose such an environment and why any student would choose to be miserable and depressed for 4 years of their life.
    Tina had been receiving many forms of help, but would ultimately relapse into the depression when she returned to Columbia. To those of you who truly befriended Tina, you know how special and talented she was. Sadly, there were very few of those people.

    1. sarah ngu says:

      @sarah ngu I’m sorry to respond to this in such a space. I understand your heartbreak for Tina, and she was certainly loved in her hometown. But there were people at Columbia who cared and really went above and beyond to demonstrate that to her, and they made her sophomore year a bright time in her life. Living in such a fast-paced, high-expectations place like Columbia, in a single, is not conducive for a naturally warm and nurturing experience. But please do not make unfounded assumptions about the friends she had here.

      You can reach me at if you want to talk further.

  • mother bear says:

    @mother bear I am a parent of a Columbia freshman and I just got back from visiting my daughter this week-end. After witnessing the extreme unfriendliness and obvious competitiveness – not to mention the abject loneliness on the faces of so many of the students – I plan to help my daughter break out of the Prison of Stress. I want her to transfer ASAP … and it is sad, but a fact, that Tina taking her own life has helped me see the urgency in rescuing my own child. RIP

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I hope you will remember the importance of respecting and fostering your daughter’s autonomy (specifically: ability to govern and guide her own life) in addition to your concern for her well-being. In the long-run, this might contribute more to her happiness than your efforts to guide her path at every turn. Just some advice from someone who’s been there!

      On another note, the “obvious competitiveness” (and, probably, the “extreme unfriendliness”) is being severely overblown in this discourse and in those like it – for what it’s worth coming from an anonymous blog commenter.

    2. CC Senior says:

      @CC Senior Columbia is not necessarily a miserable place. If you were here for parents weekend, I’m sure you also saw quite a few happy faces. Mine would have been one of them. I’ve had 3.5 beautiful years here, and I’m looking forward to graduating this May alongside so many of the wonderful friends I’ve made. I’m sure I will be deeply involved in the Columbia community for the rest of my life (and no, the competitive environment has never tempted me to cut it short). What happened to Tina is incredibly sad. She is the third person I have known to commit suicide, and alongside the rest of the people posting, I am grieving this terrible loss. It is important to note, however, that all environments and circumstances affect different people in different ways. Clearly this one triggered depression in Tina, and that is a fact that we cannot afford to take lightly. But please do not make rash decisions for your daughter out of fear. Keep in mind that the majority of Columbia students graduate with their spirits and their sanity more or less in tact. The bottom line is that you need to encourage your daughter to listen to her own instincts and to do what she feels is best. Let her know that you are there for her and that your love for her is unchanging, regardless of what decision she makes. If she is struggling with depression, be aware of that and get her help, but don’t assume that she will be miserable just because she is here. It is not a prison for everyone.

  • j says:

    @j As a friend of Tina, I have been in a daze for the past two days, overwhelmed by sadness. I haven’t left my room, had an appetite, or been able to sit without crying for more than an hour or two. As an extremely rational person, I haven’t been able to have a single rational thought for 48 hours and it scares me how shaken I am, how unattached I’ve become from reality in an attempt to hide from the sadness. Tina was getting help, and I think I did everything a friend could do for someone in her position. I knew deep down, that one day this might happen because she had been fighting depression for several years. The only calming, rational thought that I’ve been able to have and that has helped pull me away from this numbed feeling, is that despite the fact that Tina passed by taking her own life, she’s not suffering any more. I can’t concentrate any more on how she died, because I will probably never accept that fact, but I can acknowledge that she is no longer here, and even though it was much too early, at least she is done with having to feel so hopeless and sad. I believe she is happier now. That is the only thing that is keeping me sane. TinaBu, I miss you dearly, but after everything you have been through, I sincerely hope you have found some peace.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous God bless your soul! Do not be afraid to inform your RA or advisor (whomever you feel more comfortable with) so they can provide resources for you to cope with this and your course workload. I feel like Tina would not want to see you in this state– you have been a great friend for her. I just finished crying (sure that my tears are not over, though) as well and am remembering more positive things.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I do not want to criticize the many kind people who have commented on this thread and advised anyone suffering from depression to seek help. I want to be clear that I think this helpful and worthy advice.

    However, I don’t think people don’t think we have a problem with helping ourselves on this campus. I think we just need to be a little more willing to stop and say hello to not just our friends, but also our acquaintances.

    Too frequently I tell people on campus that I’m busy just so I don’t have to stop and chat or I avert eye contact so I don’t have to say hello. Sometimes I’m sure it’s me being rude, but other times I avoid it because I doubted they would return a smile.

    I don’t know if this is unique to columbia, college in general, or adult life, but it’s too often that I have been reintroduced to someone, and for whatever reason the two of us pretend we don’t remember each other. Maybe it’s a side effect of Facebook, we’re paranoid we may have learned the other’s name through some digital voyeurism.

    I guess what I’m saying is the little things add up, and I’m going to make an effort to at least say hello to everyone I remember meeting even those I sometimes want to avoid.

    What does this have to do with Tian? I guess think it’s just a little too easy to advise anyone who is depressed to simply go make an appointment with CPS. If Tian’s death was out of sadness, I’m sure she thought to seek help at some point, but maybe, she shouldn’t have had to ask.

  • just my experience says:

    @just my experience I am a junior in CC. Last semester I was suicidal and regularly contemplated walking in front of buses and other horrific things. However, one day I found it in me to confide in someone trusted and later seek therapy. It has been a long process, but the change in me has been remarkable. No, I am not a new person; better yet, I feel like my former, happy self, but more mature and well-adjusted. I definitely don’t have everything figured out, but now I’m not afraid to think about the future. It *is* possible to recover.

    As individuals, we hold a healthy belief—and are evolutionary programmed to believe—in the exceptionalism of the self. Depression, however, often involves a decreased sense of self-worth. If you are in its grasp, you may feel that you do not deserve help or that you are beyond help. It is in this very state that you are in a position to be exceptional. You are in a position to be your own hero. Seeking help is hard and almost counterintuitive for someone in a suicidal frame of mind, but if you tell someone you trust why this condition has overtaken you, you have begun to unhinge your own prison door. Seeking help is a form of eventual self-empowerment. Be persistent in asking for the support you need from those close to you or, if need be, a professional. It sounds tacky, but if you are your own hero now, someday you’ll be able to dream of being someone else’s. You’ll be able to post this comment.

  • Times like this says:

    @Times like this remind me of how unnatural death is. People always say, “Death is just a part of life.” But whenever a young person passes, we can’t help but feel that something is just not right. I don’t believe we were ever meant to die, and I look forward to a day when there will be no more death.

    I pray that God would uphold and sustain our community as we mourn the loss of one of our own, and that he would send his peace that surpasses all understanding to comfort us in the midst of our grief and confusion.

    I agree with everyone above who said to seek help if you are feeling depressed. Do not give up– life is ALWAYS worth living!

  • CC'13 says:

    @CC'13 tina, i miss you so much. i can’t wrap my head around the basic fact that you are not here anymore. i do not know what to do.

    and to everyone else-tina did reach out. she did ask for help. she was brave and open about her pain and all she wanted was to be happy. the problem is we don’t understand depression, we don’t understand suicide. talking about things can create a false sense of reflection and distance, it was easier for all of us to believe that because she could talk she was coping.

    tina, i’m sorry you lost hope, i’m sick that i couldn’t hope enough for the both of us. i’m grateful you even let me try.

    i hope anyone here who is hurting finds solace before they get to that place. once you lose your hope you lose everything. i love you, people love you, it will get better.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous thanks for writing this. As comforted as I was by the outpouring of grief and support for Tina, the truth is she was not alone and unaware of her resources. She was fairly open about her struggles, even with people she didn’t know as well (like me). This is a very saddening experience and I don’t want to trivialize it by making it seem like Tina was unaware of the world around her or a life unfulfilled.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Reading this makes me even more sad. I don’t know what the undergrad community is like here; I went to a very small college that was very different from Columbia. But reading that she was open about her struggles makes me wonder about all the professionals she may have contacted….and chances that may have been missed. Believe me – I’m not blaming anyone, so I hope it doesn’t sound that way – but hearing that many people knew about her struggles makes me wonder how she was received by teachers/RAs/CPS/medical docs/etc, and whether they “took her seriously”, for lack of a better term, and didn’t just chalk it up to school stress/competitive Ivy League crap. This isn’t coming out the way I’d like it to…but reading the above posts made me even sadder.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous I truly believe Tina couldn’t have asked for better friends. I don’t think it’s helpful to insinuate that the people she reached out to missed any opportunities. It’s clear that Tina was really loved by those around her, and I’m sure everyone helped her as much as they could. I’m not any sort of psychologist or professional, but I do think that people get overwhelmed sometimes, and I’m not sure how much social workers, friends, family, or anyone else can really do once the situation gets to a certain point.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Although it’s true that RAs can be a mixed bag, many CC/BC RAs are genuinely mature, responsible, and understanding people. Most of us have taken on this job because we want to improve our community and support our peers.

    I have tried to make my residents feel as comfortable, appreciated, and supported as possible, but I still worry that they may be amongst the commenters above. I hope that you all will consider sending your RA an e-mail or stopping by their room, especially if you feel like you have no one else to talk to. We’re human too. We’ve had our own difficulties as students here. We will listen to you and give you the support, guidance, and encouragement that you need.

    That being said, everyone has the right to decide whether they feel comfortable opening up to their RA or not. Should you decide to speak with your RA, no RA will be offended if you say: “I’d really appreciate it if you would keep this as confidential as possible.” Although it may feel unnecessary, it can’t hurt.

  • someonewhocaresatCU says:

    @someonewhocaresatCU if anyone needs to talk to someone who cares deeply

    email someonewhocaresatCU at gmail

    i’ll be checking all night

    1. M says:

      @M ^ she saved my life yesterday.

  • 12'er says:

    @12'er am i the only one who has experienced all of the below:

    1) CPS is unconcerned with your problems unless you explicitly identify yourself to be suicidal or about to harm others

    2) most professors never remember you, much less your name – and are largely dismissive of undergrads’ academic issues or interests besides suggesting a couple of papers or some (of their own) research to read

    3) RAs to be too immature to handle any serious issue you go to them with, which they end up blabbing to their friends (likely your friends too) about. “omg let me tell you about this crazy resident i have…”

    4) advisors / deans who are just too busy to meet you, and when they do, would really like you out of their office in 15 minutes cos they have an appointment with another student and their phone is ringing off the hook

    5) peers who are way too socially self conscious to reach out and be nice to people who look like they may be depressed/sad/lonely/suicidal? in fact, the less you associate yourself with people like that, the cooler you become!

    1. Reply to 12'er says:

      @Reply to 12'er Yeah. All of those things. That’s why I don’t bother anymore, and I’m sure it’s why many others don’t bother. My advisor likes to hear herself talk and no joke, once spent 90% of our session staring out the window at a firetruck trying to figure out what was going on before saying “what Sociology seminar did you want?” despite me having told her I was looking for History seminars…and when I went made a pretty big step going to CPS on my own for an eating disorder/self harm/depression I had one meeting with someone actually at CPS before being shuffled to various therapists around the upper west side who only cared about getting my copay the two or three times per week I visited. One time after having a severe panic attack where I couldn’t breathe or stand up without getting dizzy, I was sent to St Luke’s where I was essentially ignored by all of the ER doctors who were clearly more interested in getting a better case. I had several nurses take my history and do EKGs because no one was documenting what was happening in the process, and then an intern brought me a cup of water and checked my neurological signs, all the while staring out onto the main floor waiting for something better to do. I eventually just got up and walked out because it was such bullshit. Another time, I was prescribed an emergency medication by a nurse practitioner at Health Services, and I needed it right away…but the NP didn’t put some ID number on the RX he called in to the pharmacy so they couldn’t give me the meds and no one at Columbia was helping me and I screamed “I’M GOING TO KILL MYSELF” to the guy on the late night health services phone and he just said “Okay, we’ll keep trying but can’t promise you anything.” I hung up and swallowed three cups of rock salt and warm water because I’d heard it made a good poison. All it did was make me violently ill and then fall asleep. I never went to get the prescription and never checked back in with health services…and no one once checked up on me to see if I was okay.

      One of the biggest issues with my disorders/anxieties is that I feel so crazy and so alone that it feels impossible to say anything…so when I do finally get the courage to get help and am completely brushed aside or ignored, it makes me think, you know what? I’m really NOT worth it. I could literally die right now and not one person would notice, let alone care. That frame of mind comes hand in hand with many disorders and it’s more than self pity…it’s a feeling of utter hopelessness and despair which doesn’t go away with a couple of friends patting you on the back and telling you things will be okay. Even seeing this outpouring of support on Bwog…it should make me think like, wow, people care about an absolute stranger, but at the same time I’m like “but if it were me it wouldn’t be like this.” So the next time I’m sitting up at 4 am getting into one of my self-hate panic attacks, knowing that I’ve TRIED to get help yet nothing has worked and nothing will ever get better? Why WOULDN’T I turn to a nice permanent solution?

      and on that note…

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous As unsettling as your post is to read, and as much as it goes against the general grain of this comment thread, it’s a completely valid point of view simply because it’s been your experience and it’s taken place in reality. That sucks that your situation was handled that way by your advisor, health services and the ER at St. Luke’s, and I’m so sorry those incidents happened the way they did. It’s not you, it’s them. I’m not in as dark of a place right now as you seem to be, but I’ve known the sense of discouragement you feel and how bottomlessly hopeless it can be. Just know that your voice has been heard and acknowledged at least by me, and probably many more in here throughout the next few days.

        Please, PLEASE don’t do anything to hurt yourself. Reading your post has been a reminder for me to look closer at everyone I even walk by on the street on this campus and consider what they might be going through, even if they look fine or indifferent. If you need someone to talk to, or want to vent for a little bit, feel free to email me at midimauve125 at gmail. Try to cut yourself a break, and remember that nothing or nobody can take away the Voice of Reason that is in all of us. Take care, I mean it.

      2. Someonecares says:

        @Someonecares I sincerely apologize on behalf of CPS and any other person who was unable to help you in your time of dire need. I probably will not be able to convince you of anything, but I can share with you a time when I once lost a friend. He probably thought that no one would care if he died, but the reality is that people did, in fact, care. So much that even until this day his loss is heart-felt.Even though it feels as if no one cares about you at the moment, TRUST ME, there is someone out there that will feel like complete and utter shit if you died. Can you imagine how guilty everyone would feel about your death? How we could’ve stopped it? I still feel extremely guilty for the loss of my own friend, but I beg you, don’t take your life away. Taking your own life away would just mean making this world even more depressing and full of shit. I’m sorry if this isn’t convincing enough, but remember, we’re all going through some tough shit. We just have to fight it out, not only for ourselves, but also for our loved ones.

      3. Lookatthesimplethingsoflife says:

        @Lookatthesimplethingsoflife I’m so sorry that you are going through all of this. I know Columbia can be a stressful place and make you feel like you are in a hole with no way to get out. But I want to think about the big picture. Columbia is just your education and nothing else. Some people in the world don’t even have the opportunity, to eat, smile, play or even talk, which are things that we take for granted. Try to look at the simple things in your life and you will see that everyday will seem like a new opportunity to experience these wonderful simple things. Also it takes time to find people who really care about you, so take a little bit of time and you WILL find people here who will truly help you and love you. You don’t even notice it but so many people care about you, and they just don’t have the courage to tell you. I wish you the best of luck and please don’t take your life away.

      4. You are special says:

        @You are special To the poster above:

        I am so sorry to hear about what you have gone through. Please don’t do anything rash. Columbia can be a very cold place, but it will only be a transient four years of your life. If I got through it, anyone can. Please, there are people out there who care about you; I am one of them.

        With love,
        CC ’11 er

    2. CC'10 says:

      @CC'10 Your deans care. CPS cares. Trust me, I know from experience. I’ve worked with them extensively. Meet with them regularly…if you have one family member, or one friend whom you can trust, speak to them. You don’t have to explicit if you don’t want to but a simple “Hey, I’m kinda struggling” can alert them that not everything’s OK. It’s also okay to take time off. It can help you deal with issues on a deeper level and you can come back with a renewed sense of focus and purpose, and maybe even of self. Don’t give up.

      RIP Miss Tian

  • Lerner meeting says:

    @Lerner meeting Is the meeting tonight (24th) or tomorrow night (25th)?

  • Anon says:

    @Anon As a grad student here who struggled with serious depression throughout high school and undergrad, I can understand the impulse, I can understand the feeling that things will never, ever get better. I was in a similar situation 12 years ago. But believe me, as corny as this sounds, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There is nothing – NOTHING – that cannot be eased or shared with another person. College students have the rest of their lives in front of them – there is a HUGE world outside Columbia. Life has just begun for you guys. Please, talk to an RA, or a prof you really like, a teammate or someone at CPS. The health insurance we have as students is excellent if you choose an off-campus provider….people want to hear your story. Trust me. The scariest part is taking that first step.

  • Shruti says:

    @Shruti The tragic demise of our fellow student – a suspected suicide – has sparked a truly heart-warming outpour of concern and empathy from students across campus, even those who never knew her. At the same time, it has prompted many others to confess how they, too, have nurtured similar unhealthy depressed – and even suicidal – thoughts, much like what she may have experienced. Please, everyone, know that your challenges are temporary – and more importantly, that there are people out there – perhaps more than you presently realize – who love you and care about you, and would be more than willing to reach out to you for help. If only she had known, perhaps she might still have lived. At least, let’s take this chance to remind ourselves of this, and save future lives.
    R.I.P. Tian (“Tina”) Bu. Columbia loves you. May Krsna (God) bless you <3

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Tina.

    I hope you are in a better place.

    Columbia kids, we all know how what a terrible place CU can be. Reach out to your friends and make it a little more comforting. Don’t give up on your friends, and never give up on yourself.

    You’re not ‘crazy’ if you go to CPS.

  • BC says:

    @BC No doubt, college and be rough, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Give yourself a break.
    Sending love to anyone who needs it.
    Keep your head up– the best years of you life are straight ahead of you.

  • We can all help says:

    @We can all help each other. I did not know Tina, but my heart goes out to her friends and family.

    As someone who has struggled eating disorders and self harm, I know how hard it can be when you feel you’re all alone. You aren’t, and this outpouring of support is testament to that. The first and hardest step is telling someone – a friend, parent, cousin, anyone. Nobody deserves this end.

  • alum says:

    @alum It’s really hard to initiate a conversation about depression and loneliness. If I was still at Columbia I would attend the Piano Lounge talk. Not to trivialize the situation, but here’s a song I like to listen to when my heart is heavy:

  • please says:

    @please call if you need to outside of CPS/furman hours. nightline 212 854 7777. nonjudgmental, anonymous, here to listen. you are not alone.

  • CC'14 says:

    @CC'14 I didn’t know her, not personally, but I did meet Tina once. She seemed really cheery and bubbly—full of life, I guess. It just really hits you at times like this that life is finite, that people die. I hope that whatever problems people are having, they’ll talk about them—to their friends, their families, counselors, anyone really. Because tragedies like this just shouldn’t happen.

    R.I.P. Tina. May you find peace and solace, whatever and wherever you are now.

  • RIP says:

    @RIP Please people, ask for help. We should be in this together.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Is there an address to which we can send flowers or cards of condolences?

  • Rachel says:

    @Rachel My heart goes out to her friends and family and everyone affected. I am saddened and sorry I never had the chance to know her. Wishing love and compassion for everyone who needs it.

  • A musical suggestion says:

    @A musical suggestion I can’t express in words how sad this makes me. I am so sorry for family and friends of Tina.

    Please get help if you need it! Or find a constructive outlet for your pain. Personally, when I am feeling hopeless I like to turn on some Explosions in the Sky music and zone out a little. It is swelling instrumental rock that echos my despair somewhat, but also fills me with a sense of hope. May I suggest “your hand in mine” ( as a great place to start.

    Be well!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I am simultaneously saddened and encouraged by the bravery of everyone able to admit their struggles with depression. Dealing with a mental illness is always difficult because while you don’t want to be stigmatized you often end up stigmatizing yourself. I’ve been dealing with depression with years without even being aware of it, things only came to the surface last year after depression got to such a height that I had suicidal ideation and had to be hospitalized during finals week. It was such a surreal experience but also one of great strength. I am so much stronger now than I was then. Depression does not have to overtake you. You are not your thoughts. You don’t have to believe the lies that you’re hearing. I don’t know if I will be able to attend tonight, but like so many other courageous and good hearted commenters before me, I have set up a gmail account at If there is anyone who wants to share their story, talk, ask for advice, ask for help (even with the small things, anyone who has experienced depression knows how difficult doing the smallest of things can be) please don’t hesitate to contact me. Ever! I’m here to support you.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous because the administration makes decisions based on what bothers you in particular, right? i’m really baffled at your leap in logic

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous err that was supposed to be a reply

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I teach in the Core, and I follow bwog. Though I never met her, I am saddened by Tina’s death. I can’t even imagine how I would be feeling right now if I were reading about any of my current or former students.

    College can be a stressful time, sometimes presenting new personal and academic challenges. Sometimes these challenges will help you learn and grow, but other times they might feel like too much. I’ve been there too, when I was in college. If you feel overwhelmed, PLEASE reach out to your friends, advisors, or psychological services. Your support network will help you through.

    Take care of yourself during midterms. Don’t forget to eat and sleep and take a break now and then. Stay healthy. Keep perspective. In the long term: find subjects, activities, and hobbies that you’re passionate about, and let these be a source of enjoyment and energy.

    And always know that somebody out there cares. Yes, even your profs.

  • its so many of us says:

    @its so many of us I don’t know Tian, but I’m brought to tears by these comments. I too am struggling with depression and constantly wonder if this is the right place to me, something I couldn’t have been more sure of when I applied ed. Once I started telling friends what was going on, I learned that there’s a lot more people dealing with mental illness than I thought. Luckily, I’m in an incredibly supportive group on campus- greek life, and without the help of the friends I’ve made there, I’m not quite sure where I’d be. I don’t really want to think about it. I guess I’ve found that when you reach out to people, they do listen and they do care. You might be surprised to see how many people feel the same way. There are groups on campus that can provide community and support and friendship- things that make so much more of a difference than I realized. I wish strength and love anyone else who is struggling. May we all find peace with ourselves.

  • PLEASE says:

    @PLEASE ask for help if you are going through a dark period in your life. From a year and a half ago up until about five months ago, I suffered from a deep depression. The ultimate reason for this depression was not school or work related, but it obviously destroyed my Freshman year at Columbia since I was going through it at the same time. The worst part was having to put on a happy and brave front every single day. Before a year and a half ago, I was the happiest person in the entire world. People thought of me as the girl who was smiling and happy all the time. Then, a year a half ago, a major event happened in my life that completely turned my life upside down. Looking back, it is frightening how quickly I went from being the happiest person in the world, to someone who cried herself to sleep almost every single night. I, however, was embarrassed to be feeling this way. Here I was, surrounded by all these happy people who are having the time of their lives in college. I thought: Everyone else is happy! All my friends are happy! Why am I not happy? There must be something wrong with me. I was embarrassed of my own depression, so I put on a smile when I walked out the door and hung out with my friends, but as soon as I got back into my room, I would burst into tears. There is so much pressure in college (and in life in general) to pretend like your life is great, because if you aren’t having the time of your life in college, you must be the biggest loser, right? Because of this thinking, I went for months without really reaching out to any of my friends and family for help. I was ashamed for feeling depressed at a time in my life where everyone, except for the biggest loser, is “supposed” to be having the time of his/her life.

    Ultimately, the reason I am still here today is because I have the most amazing mom (and dad, but mostly mom in this particular situation) in the world. I credit her with saving my life, and for preventing me from going down a route I had never thought I would have even considered before 1.5 years ago. I am so thankful to today be ~85% of the person I was before all this happened, because just five months ago, I was at like 10%, with all signs pointing towards further decrease. The recovery process is ongoing, but I have come so far in the past couple of months. PLEASE REACH OUT TO SOMEONE FOR HELP. This could be with psychiatric services, but it could also be to a mom, a dad, a friend, or someone else close to you. Never be too proud to ask for help.

    I think one of the most characteristic signs of depression is that when you are depressed, you feel like you will never be happy again. Like…you feel like there will never be another day in your life where it could be possible for you not to feel depressed. When I was going through this time, I kept on thinking, “I know there is no chance I will ever feel happy again. And if I have to live another 1, 5, 10, 20 years feeling this miserable, as I surely will, then what is the point of living at all?” That is what I thought at the time, and I am so glad to tell you that it is not true. I am living proof of it today. I am so happy now. I still have scars that surface from time to time, making me “relapse” into occasional bouts of unhappiness, but, for the most part, I can live my life as a normal person again. I am happy. I am happy. I am happy. Just five months ago, I never thought I could feel this way again. Please reach out for help. Please extend help to others. It can–and will–get better.

    Love to all.

  • marissa says:

    @marissa i knew tina very well…i was shocked to see her name in that email this morning. she had a great heart and was wonderful with the kids that we worked with together. i am so sorry it had to be her and that there might have been a way to prevent this, had someone reached out. if this was brought on by the stressful environmemt at school,, the very idea makes me sick. i am tinas age and was enrolled in my last year at barnard this semster before i took leave. i am writing this from a psycchiatric hospital. it really put in perspective how suicide affects the people that know and love her. i would have rather she dropped out and got away from this school where people brag about how many classes they take and how many all nighters they pull. fuck this mindset, following along with it puts a serious amount of pressure on individuals and those who actually seek help with depression and other mental illnesses are the lucky ones. i wish that tina hadnt given up. i wish i could have been there for her, if i knew.

  • RA says:

    @RA This is truly a tragedy and a difficult time for everyone in the community. I would also encourage all of you to reach out to your RAs, many of whom will be having an open door policy during this week. We’re here to help!

  • Alum says:

    @Alum I’m glad to see people coming together at a time like this. It’s very easy at Columbia to get lost in your own world and feel isolated. It does not mean you are weak or don’t belong, it’s the stress of college, the age, the environment – everything. For anyone who wants to talk to someone who struggled for 4 years but made it through and graduated – please email me at Any other alums who are interested in participating can email there and I will give you the log-in information so that we can give back to current students. Thanks.

  • On a Friend's Suicide says:

    @On a Friend's Suicide You left
    Without saying goodbye.
    That’s not what I hate.
    Nobody likes goodbyes.

    I thought
    That you were happy.
    That’s not what I hate.
    Everybody hurts inside.

    You were
    So beautiful and alive.
    That’s not what I hate.
    Everybody dies.

    You taught me
    A truth about life.
    And that’s what I hate.
    I would rather know lies.
    -Rebekah Gottlob

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The email says:
    “With the death of Tian, also known as Tina by friends on campus…”

  • wait is it says:

    @wait is it tian or tina?

  • BC'13 says:

    @BC'13 My condolenses to the family and friends of Tina. It is a loss to the Columbia Community when one so young leaves this world so early.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I had the privilege to spend some time with Tina, meeting her through a mutual friend. Regretfully, I never had the chance to get to know her better, especially since immediately upon meeting her it was apparent that she was an amazing individual. Genuinely kind, quirky, and interesting. I truly, sincerely regret that I didn’t take the initiative to get to know her better. Rest in peace.

    The thing that shakes me the most, is that I had no idea that she was dealing with so much pain since she had such a bright disposition. Having dealt with my own mental issues, I find it extremely saddening, just reading through the comments of the linked post to know that below Columbia’s glossy veneer, the atmosphere breeds so much hidden pain.

  • never lose hope says:

    @never lose hope “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy

  • Anonyme says:

    @Anonyme Tina,

    I was at the Met the weekend before last for an Art Hum paper and had extra time to go to the temporary exhibits in the modern art section. I saw the Rothkos and thought of you. I don’t think you’d done pictures standing with all of them yet. When I go home over winter break, I’m going to sit as I used to in front of the huge orange and blue one – and this time I’ll know and remember that you were there once, too.


  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 I’m sorry that you had to leave. I’m sorry that you felt so much pain. Even though I never knew you, I wish I could reach out to you and hold you, make you understand how beautiful it is that you had lived. I hope you’re happier wherever you are, and I hope you can see how much we all are affected and how much everyone who knew you will surely miss you.

  • On a positive note... says:

    @On a positive note... It is encouraging to know that she had someone checking in on her, someone concerned when they could not reach her. Rest in peace.

    That we may all remember to LIVE everyday of our lives…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Wild Geese

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    -Mary Oliver

    always remember this please, we all have a place.

  • CC '12 says:

    @CC '12 I don’t mean to detract in any way from the tragedy of this student’s death, so please don’t take this the wrong way.

    Every time someone dies on this campus. and there have been several in my years here, we have this outpouring -usually on bwog but also in conversations with friends. We all acknowledge, even if only in anonymity, that the culture of this university contributes to severe mental disorder that can and have contributed to the tragic deaths of fellow students. We do that and then we pretend everything is different for a couple days and then we forget again. I’m tired of the duplicitousness in acknowledging an extremely unhealthy culture and at the same time being unwilling to address it on any meaningful level. In fact, the ultra-competitive, hyper-stressed Columbia lifestyle is taken as a badge of honor. If we really care about the mental health of our classmates and ourselves, it’s time to address the cause of this in a public way. We can have access to CPS 24/7 (and I’m grateful), but we’re only treating the condition and not the cause.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I agree, which is why I was encouraged by the thread that’s organizing a time to meet and talk tomorrow (above). The anonymity of the internet makes it easy to share, but doesn’t let you really connect. I have high hopes for what that group could be. If it saves even one person by being a resource, it’s worth it.

    2. CC '11 says:

      @CC '11 I totally agree with this. I am a Columbia alumnus, and I remember feeling lost and unsupported for the most part when I was a student there. Columbia needs to offer more academic and emotional support to its students. We do need to make our best efforts to address the cause and not the symptoms- how we will do this, I do not know, but I’d like to think Tina’s death will spur some people to take action.

      To those of you who are current students, I implore you to take action. I can’t bear to hear news like this again.

      With love to all of you.
      May you rest in peace, Tina. You were special, and you will be missed.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I would care.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I will come.

  • E.S. says:

    @E.S. To anyone out there who feels,
    That the only choice they have is to give up and die,
    Please don’t; listen to this my appeal,
    Thirty years from now it probably won’t matter if on that test you got an A or B,
    Or lost that one with whom you thought you were in love.
    And even if it will, it’s much better to live a life of some highs and some lows,
    Than to live no life at all; leaving all whom care for you in the throes,
    Of despair and sorrows unfriendly cold.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I knew Tina from Lit Hum. She always had something interesting to say, and she had an entertaining personality. I remember passing notes with silly doodles to her. I wish I had taken the time to get to know her better. Tina, your life has ended too soon, and you will be dearly missed. I send my deepest condolences to her family and friends.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Tian, you are a beautiful individual and that is exactly how you will be remembered. To those who mourn Tian’s passing, please remember that what you do on a regular basis is exceptional. Please don’t succumb to the impossible to achieve expectations of the institutions in which you find yourselves. I have seen too many wonderful young people pass away in high school and college due in part to the apathy of instructors who fail to consider the impact they have on the lives of their students. Remember that those who criticize and pressure you would probably never be able to accomplish what you accomplish every day. What makes Columbia so great are the modest, intelligent, and enthusiastic students like Tina. Once we lose them, there is little hope for the rest of us.

  • Ittai says:

    @Ittai Tina Bu was a ray of sunshine. I will never forget her, her genuine compassion, her insight and her humor. She will be sorely missed.

    For other lonely, good people out there. Don’t let go. This is one of the hardest and most solitary periods of our lives. Remember your family, remember the joys you will have in the future, the summer will come again, the sun will come up again always, and there is love. This world needs you, there are not enough of you as it is.

    I wish I could have told her all of that.

    1. CC 14 says:

      @CC 14 This is so absolutely beautiful; these are the words that I wish someone had told me last year when I was struggling with the mind-numbing depression that comes from Columbia-induced stress. Everybody tries to make life here seem so easy, but in fact it is anything but easy. Each student here is in way over his or her head, and the pride Columbia students hold in maintaining stoic composure despite cut-throat competition and their immense stresses is backwards and dangerous.

      This place is so tough, and it saddens and angers me that someone could be led to this. Tina, you were so absolutely extraordinary and I hope you rest in peace, knowing how much you were and are loved.

  • M says:

    @M I’ve struggled with severe depression for years, and whenever my suicidality really starts to ramp up one of the most irrepressible thoughts is “no one would care”. It’s moving to see such a genuine outpouring of emotion, both grieving and empathetic, from friends and strangers to Tian alike. Its a nice reminder that the empathy we’re hard-wired isn’t necessarily limited to those immediately around us. Makes me a little more hopeful about humanity.

    1. M says:

      @M I’ve also wished for a long, long time that there was a safe place for me to talk with fellow students non-judgmentally about this, because I know there’s so many of us who feel similarly, or want to better understand what a friend or family member is going through. I’ve tried organized groups, but I would love for there to be a Columbia one, since so many of us can understand better than strangers what its like here. I’m going to take a risk and say that I will be sitting in the Lerner Piano lounge tomorrow (Monday) night at 9pm. If anybody wants to talk, about Tian’s tragedy, your own similar struggles, or even just listen I’m going to put it out there that I’d like to try and start something like that. I won’t identify myself specifically as the “organizer”, but if anybody wants to participate, let’s agree to just say “hi, are you here to talk at 9?”. That’s an easy, unintrusive way for us to find each other if the lounge is crowded, without me or anybody else having to identify as the organizer. If 9:10 comes and we haven’t managed to coalesce, somebody just play a note on the piano and sit back down. Come just to share about Tian, I for one didn’t know her but would like to hear about her, or to talk about your own feelings. First names only, and obviously if any of us know each other I hope we can be non-judgemental and just talk confidentially. I’m out on a limb here, but maybe this can be something good.

      1. CC'13 says:

        @CC'13 It’s gutsy as hell to do this, since at a school this small some of us will almost certainly know and recognize each other, but I will be there. I for one would never judge someone I knew for being there and sharing OP, but you’re right, this is a small school. To anybody else participating, I want to add my support for this and reiterate the importance of the non-judgmental spirit the OP called for.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Did you seriously just call yourself gutsy?

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I’ll be there.

        1. Do you know says:

          @Do you know how the track button works? As someone who knew Tina, I think it’s really offensive that you are undermining your own sentiments by posting multiple times under different names in reply to your own post.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous This person has good intentions

            1. Anonymous says:

              @Anonymous It’s hard to believe their good intentions or trust yourself enough to open up to them when they misrepresent themselves like that. Not okay.

              1. M says:

                @M Like I said, I regret doing it. It was ill considered and I’ve tried to apologize. I’ve been watching this thread really closely the last two hours because I was worried this would turn into a witch hunt. What I did was wrong, but please don’t use this page to air your grievances against me, this is supposed to be for Tina’s friends and family to commemorate her. I’ve made an email address without my name, columbiaguy0419 at gmail. If you want to express your dissapproval, and I know I deserve it, please do it there. I will check it regularly today.

                1. M says:

                  @M Wow, meant to type M. Bwog, if you’re watching can you please repost that under a pseudonym?

                  1. Pseudonym says:

                    @Pseudonym Sure thing Michael.

              2. Anonymous says:

                @Anonymous eh, the guy clearly has good intentions. posting like he did is no different than a street musician putting a few dollars in his case to encourage others to do the same. i hope this still happens tonight because it seems like a lot of us at columbia could use it.

                1. Anonymous says:

                  @Anonymous Priming a tip jar is different from the snake-oil salesman practice of planting fake audience members.

                  1. That said, says:

                    @That said, I just wanted to comment on the practice. Good luck with the event, it’s not like I care about this guy personally one way or the other.

                    1. Anonymous says:

                      @Anonymous I will be at the event tonight. Why dont you come, look us in the eye and say that to our faces.

                  2. Anonymous says:

                    @Anonymous It’s sad how when it’s too late like in Tian’s case we’re all saying how she should have reached out, there’s always someone to listen, etc; yet when someone DOES try to reach out as is the case with M there’s always that idiot making the situation worse. M, I truly commend you for your gutsy move, and even though I won’t be there tonight I hope that the meeting goes well and that you find peace and a way of coping with the stress, loneliness, depression, etc that periodically comes with being at Columbia. Two thumbs up and a big hug!

              3. Anonymous says:

                @Anonymous Dear person criticizing M – why are actually taking the time to indict someone who is only seeking help? Especially on a post about the death of a student due to suicide, of all things!? You make me sick. M, I am there for you if you need to talk. I will reply to your email.

          2. M says:

            @M No, I didn’t, and I guess that’s about what I deserve for misleading people, but please try to understand why I did it. I would never want to insult you or the memory of Tina who, by the sound of these remembrances, was a wonderful and loved person. I am desperate though, there’s just no two ways about it, so when I saw this, I thought maybe this was a chance I’d been hoping for to find someone, anyone, to talk to. As much as I love my therapist and psychopharmacologist, what I really want is the chance to open up to someone without having to feel like a sick person, listing symptoms to a doctor. The problem is that two years of spending most of every day in bed, shut off from the world, going through the motions of college life, has alienated the few people I might have once been able to call, and now I spend just about every night cycling through my phone’s contact list hoping that a name I’ll feel I can call will magically appear. Then yesterday I got that email and it scared the hell out of me, because if it could happen to her, who by the sound of this message board had many, many people who cared about her, it could sure as hell happen to me. So yes, I posted those first two responses. I thought if I started a pattern of people saying they would come it would encourage others to, and from the looks of it it worked. I’m sorry to you and everybody on this thread for being misleading. It was self-serving I guess, but I feel like my brain is trying to kill me and I just want to find someone who understands by experience, rather than from med school. I will still be there tonight, and I hope others still will too.

            1. Anonymous says:

              @Anonymous i can’t make it tonight due to a prior engagement. that being said, your post has truly moved me, as someone who has struggled with the same issues. i made an email address for you and ANYONE who feels they want to reach out to a fellow student rather than a doctor/therapist who will tell you what’s wrong with you.


              there is so much hope and love in the world, sometimes we are just unable to see it. please do not hesitate to contact.

            2. someonewhocaresatCU says:

              @someonewhocaresatCU i can’t be there tonight due to a prior engagement. your comment has truly moved me. as someone who has gone through similar issues, i understand what it’s like to need someone to talk to and flipping through your phone to come up empty, and the desire to talk to someone who won’t make you feel like a sick person. the truth is that things can TRULY get better, but rarely will they without the help of someone else. i created an email address, someonewhocaresatCU at gmail, for anyone who feels like they need someone to reach out to. there is so much love and hope available to everyone, sometimes it just requires reaching out in the right ways

              1. M says:

                @M ^ she saved my life yesterday.

      3. CC'15 says:

        @CC'15 I’ve been having such a hard time here. It started with me just missing home and my old friends, but more and more I realize this is going beyond homesickness. I have wanted so badly to hear from upper classmen about how you got through. Thank you for doing this, I will come.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous To all those struggling with depression/suicidal thoughts at Columbia- I just wanted to let everyone know that things will pass. There are brighter days ahead. I’ve since graduated, but I remember the day when I heard about Eric Harms’ suicide; it shook me to the core. I too was depressed, and seeing someone take action was extremely disconcerting. I was hoping a similar situation wouldn’t happen again, but then I learned about what happened to Tian Bu today.

          If stress becomes too great, please, take a break from school. Relax, recuperate, seek counseling. Actively form friendships and join activities that you are passionate about. Try to find what it is that makes you smile. I did, and it has made all the difference. You will not regret taking a year off, or sacrificing some grades to do something more meaningful to you, if it helps you see things a bit more clearly. Life is a series of challenges, and often it isn’t so much fun, but I promise you that there will be glimmers of hope, and that things will often work themselves out.

          Please, do not do anything rash. I say this with love to all those who are struggling. As an alumnus, I am extremely afraid of hearing similar news like this in the future.

        2. cc'12 says:

          @cc'12 the truth is, i’ve felt isolated and alone here for four years. i’ve made casual friends here and there, but no one i’ve bonded with. i’ve gotten through it different ways–i tried to reach out to my family, but the idea of therapy and something official like depression terrified them. so i tried writing it down without worrying what i said. this helped some. i cry a lot. this does not help. there is no easy answer on how to get through it. i hope you are braver than i have been, and go talk to someone. remember that you are loved, and that it’s only a few short weeks until you can see your family and home again. you’re not alone in feeling like this. knowing that is maybe what has gotten me through it.

      4. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous I commend you on your bravery – I will be there.

      5. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous My brother took his own life six years ago at another Ivy League school. I was young at the time and we had enough of an age difference that we were never exceedingly close, but it hasn’t stopped me wondering whether I could have listened a bit more, even at 14, or called him a little more often to see how he was. I remember my parents trying anything and everything to help him, especially over the last winter break he was home for, when he’d barely get out of bed. I remember wishing after it happened that he had had a place to just be listened to. It can be hard to feel safe doing that when you’re living away from home. I’ve been fortunate to avoid major depression (it all to often plagues multiple family members), but I’d still be very touched to come and listen to what other people go through, and try to understand better. Thank you for suggesting this, I will definitely be there.

      6. Please, says:

        @Please, just promise not to judge me if I cry.

      7. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous How did it go? I hope it turned out well!

    2. please says:

      @please ask a member of CPS or a clergy person , or the director of nightline to be there tonight ( at least informally). I think in a meeting like this, the support of a professional, as well as your peers is vital.

      1. Anon says:

        @Anon What I am about to say comes strictly from my own experience and I am by no means trying to speak for anyone else. So, here goes.

        I understand that from an objective point of view, it would seem completely sensical to have a “professional” at a gathering where there will be people struggling with depression, etc, who are looking for the help and comfort and presence of others who are going through the same things or who are concerned about those who are. Having a “professional” there who has been trained in these issues seems to make sense. However, from my own experience in the fairly recent past of dealing with depression while at Columbia, having mental health professionals and university administrators and my CSA advisor come swooping down on me with panicked expressions after they found out about what I was struggling with was the worst feeling in the world. It was truly not helpful — I felt I was being pinpointed as a potential threat to Columbia’s reputation as a bastion of happy students. I felt as though their primary concern was making sure I didn’t kill myself PRIMARILY because it would be a PR disaster and because they would have to look my family in the eye and tell them that I killed myself because I was so unhappy at Columbia. I was literally being shuffled through a system: I was forced to talk with an administrator who sent me to CPS so I could be evaluated on whether or not I should be deemed a threat to myself, and soon after my CSA advisor sent me an email saying she wanted to meet.

        I know that this wasn’t honorable, but I lied to the CPS counselor about how I had been feeling, and made it sound like I wasn’t as depressed as I was. But I HAD to get out of that office — I absolutely hated feeling like a liability to Columbia. I was deemed not a threat to myself and was allowed to go back to my life, more or less.

        I am glad to say that I’m a lot better now. I understand that CPS is an invaluable resource — but only to the people for whom it actually IS an invaluable resource. What I’m saying is that this discussion tonight, as suggested by M, will just be an informal gathering of people who want to meet and talk about depression, theirs and others’, or maybe just listen. M wrote, “what I really want is the chance to open up to someone without having to feel like a sick person, listing symptoms to a doctor.” This is what I worry — that having a prescribed “professional” there will just turn the atmosphere into “The sane counselor in the room full of sick, depressed people.”

        I truly hope that this atmosphere does not play out. And I understand that CPS has been wonderfully useful for many people, and, when worst comes to worst, can take action when a person is on the verge of taking their own lives. The only point that I am trying to make is that, from my own experience, talking to a mental health professional about your depression is incredibly different from talking to a peer about it. For me, talking to the professional was isolating and cold.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Why are we assuming she died in a suicide.

    1. person says:

      @person Because any mental illness has such a stigma that no “official” news organization will ever publish a suicide as such. So the fact that it’s ambiguous is a symptom of the real problem.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous RIP, Tina.

    – Your Floormate

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Stay strong everyone. And Rest In Peace Tian.

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 Rest in peace, Tian. I hope no one ever feels so alone again.

  • wilf says:

    @wilf To anyone else who is going through hard times –

    You are not alone, and though I don’t know you, I love you. Please don’t give up.

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 R.I.P. Tian. I am truly sorry that I never knew you. My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

    To the entire community,

    You are truly gifted and talented, and sometimes we forget that we are special in a sea of amazing people. It is hard to admit that we are hurting when everyone else seems fine, when in fact it is simply a mask that everyone wears to fool one another. In light of such a horrible tragedy, try to take off that mask for a week, and let someone know what you’re going though. Many times you’ll be surprised at the compassion a peer will show you, and the connection you can make from simply voicing your concerns. While I have definitely scoffed at the people who are talking about “how stressed they are,” realize that it is a mechanism through which our community bonds, and validate them. While you might need to confide in them also and talk about how stressed you are, ensure that you do validate their stressors. Everyone handles Columbia’s workload in a different way, so what might seem easy to you might be hard to someone else. The reason I am proud to be a “Columbian” is because of the amazing peers, faculty and alumni, and I know that in the future I will not remember the 20 page paper I have due tomorrow, but the people who get me through the night. Remember that Tian was one of us. While I do not know what happened, or what she was going through, I do know that it is imperative that we change the prevailing attitude on our campus that would lead someone down this path.


    a fellow Columbian

    1. 13 says:

      @13 absolutely agreed

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous That was awesome. Thanks.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Many people have said to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” They don’t realize that I cry myself to sleep almost every night and somehow, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way.

      Being at Columbia pressures us to all wear masks, to try to show everyone else that we can do it all. But we can’t. I echo the sentiments of the person above, what you wrote was beautiful and very true.

      1. hmmm says:

        @hmmm Try therapy and/or an antidepressant, or try changing the way you approach your problems. That feeling won’t last forever, but if you don’t find some way to combat it, it will get worse– and it sounds pretty severe already.

      2. CC '13 says:

        @CC '13 Thank you very much, and I promise you that you are not alone. Whether you are crying because it is overwhelming, or that you feel isolated, realize that there are always people out there to help.

        Unfortunately, in trying to help some people make comments that are off base. Realize that although that was probably not the best way of phrasing his or her concern, it was genuine concern.

        As a member of Res Programs, I can assure you that you can reach out to any RA, to start, to just talk. If you would like to talk to me, I will try to set it up through bwog.

  • SEAS '12 says:

    @SEAS '12 I was her freshman year roommate. She was a smart, beautiful, kind lady. She truly was. I loved her so much and I loved our occasional bedtime chats. I wish I took more time out of my schedule to hang out with her after freshman year. I’m sorry Tina, I wish I were there for you more often. I don’t know what else to say….

    RIP Tina, and sincere condolences to her family. And those of us who know her, it’s not easy but please stay strong.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Wow, I’m completely shocked and saddened. This is a big loss, not just for the people who knew Tina but for those who didn’t get a chance to. I’m going to dearly miss the enthusiasm she had for life, her wit and creativity, her humbleness and southern hospitality, the comics she drew for bwog that weren’t accepted, her stellar leadership of the QuestBridge chapter… I miss you so much already TEA ANN!!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I really wish the school would give its student body at least a day off in times like this. Suicide affects everyone on campus, regardless of whether or not they knew the person directly. The ironic truth is that even after things like this happen, students feel that they absolutely and immediately have to move on in order get on with their studies. I wish strength and self-care to everyone affected.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Part of me agrees with you, but you do have to realize that work is one of the best distractions from tragedy.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous For some people, yes. For others it’s just another thing to be stressed out about.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous But believe me, it’s almost impossible to get work done when you knew the person well…..

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous hmm i dunno, i was far more disturbed when the columbia five were arrested and the school didn’t give us a day off then so i doubt they would give us a day off now

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous because the administration makes decisions based on what bothers you in particular, right? i’m really baffled at your leap in logic

  • BC '14 says:

    @BC '14 R.I.P., Tian. I didn’t know her, but I feel the loss strongly for her friends, family, and this community. I’m sure she was a beautiful person.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous i didn’t know her, but damn it this still made me cry. i don’t even know what to say other than, this kind of thing just shouldn’t happen, it’s so heartbreaking and people need to feel more comfortable being open with each other outside of that whole “hey i’m sleep-deprivated and red-eyed all the time, time for caffeine and butler” shtick that we all fall into.

    i love all of you, even though sometimes we can all be curmudgeonly or jaded or pedantic. this is a great school and you are all great but please don’t forget to nurture each other so other people don’t feel that this is the only way out in the future.

    1. Yitzchak says:

      @Yitzchak “…people need to feel more comfortable being open with each other outside of that whole “hey i’m sleep-deprivated and red-eyed all the time, time for caffeine and butler” shtick…” ———- VERY well said! Sadly, however, I suspect that, at a school like ours, very few people will take heed. How very sad.

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 Tina, you will be missed. Her passing is as much a loss for all of us as it is for Columbia and for the world at large. She was truly an individual of great promise. This is a tragedy – in every sense of the word.

    All I can hope is that this needless calamity is not in vain: let this be a wake-up call for all of Columbia. No one should ever have to suffer alone. Ever. Here at Columbia University, we have the incredible privilege of an enormous network of counselors and faculty alike, ready and willing to listen.

    Suicide is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. It is the culmination of a deep-seated, long-standing and *seemingly* insurmountable state of severe distress. Undoubtedly, there were warning signs that we did not heed. The real tragedy is that Tina’s death could have been prevented.

    We all matter. And we all most certainly deserve happiness. Tina did too.

    1. Social Worker says:

      @Social Worker Not true. I am a licensed clinical social worker and sometimes people are impulsive and take their own lives. There is plenty of professional information about this.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Actually, it’s quite rare that a person spontaneously decides to take their life. In the vast majority of cases, suicide is not at the spur of the moment or an impulsive decision, and usually there are warning signs or cues. Over 85% of people who commit suicide are suffering from a form of mental illness – some estimates are as high as 98%.

        That doesn’t mean that people around a person who has committed suicide should be blaming themselves, though. Saying that suicide is often preventable is not the same thing as saying that anyone or any group in particular could have prevented it.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Well, one thing I know for certain is that I certainly won’t be hiring you as a social worker. People don’t just ‘do’ things for no good reason. Especially something as rash as taking their own lives. I’m shocked to see that as a social worker you are not versed in the principle of ’cause and effect’. No matter what your ‘research’ says, I stand my ground that any individual suffering with a mental illness does not decide to kill themselves on a whim. Suicide is preventable and treatable.

        point of my post was: we need to come together as a university and be supportive of one another. I, for one, wish I had been given the opportunity to meet to Tina and help her. So no, I am not blaming the friends, administrators or anyone in particular at Columbia for that matter. I am blaming the stigma of mental illness. I am blaming the stress-fueled culture of Columbia University. And I am blaming our inability to identify a serious problem and rectify it before it had exacerbated.

        If we continue to proceed in the same exact manner as we already have been, there is a chance that more students might decide to take the same actions. We need change and we need to reevaluate how we attend to mental health issues on this campus. ANY loss of life due to suicide is UNACCEPTABLE because it is PREVENTABLE.

  • Van Owen says:

    @Van Owen Tina was a very sweet person. She had an enormous heart and a gentle way with friends and strangers. My thoughts and prayers are extended to all of her family and friends. Tina you will be missed greatly.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I want to give everyone on campus a hug

  • GS says:

    @GS :( sincere condolences to her family & friends. A tragedy, but hopefully one that can be a warning to anyone who might be staring down this road. She was surrounded by friends & resources, if only she’d reached out.

    Please get help if you even think there’s a chance you’ll need it.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous If anything remotely “good” can come out of this, it’s that hearing about her situation has made me realize I’m not the only one struggling to get by on this campus, and that it doesn’t have to be this way. I think I’ll make an appointment with CPS tomorrow to start turning things around. R.I.P. Tina, I would have loved to be your friend.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous From someone who has just recently started counseling at CPS, definitely schedule an appointment as soon as you can. They are incredibly helpful, and just knowing I have someone more objective to talk to is really making a difference in how I think about my life right now. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You don’t have to be sick to get better, as they say.

        I recommend one or two visits to CPS or Furman for anyone who thinks they could be happier than they are now. You can be.

  • CC '13 says:

    @CC '13 It doesn’t feel appropriate to do anything at a time like this. I didn’t know her, but I’m sure I passed her on campus. The fact that someone in so similar a situation to mine could feel driven to this just makes you makes the death all the much harder to comprehend. It really puts life in our little bubble and our little petty problems in perspective.

    Tina, I hope you’ve found peace.

    1. There says:

      @There but for the grace of god go we

  • CC 14 says:

    @CC 14 My thoughts to Tian and everyone whose life she touched.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I hope you’ve found peace where you are.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous R.I.P Tian. Life could have been so much richer and much more wonderful than whatever drove you to this. I sincerely hope you rest in peace.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I will pray for her. This is a tragedy.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Tina was quirky and wonderfully sweet. She was one of those people who always said hi and waved, a rare presence on this campus. She will be missed.

    1. Tian was in my CC class says:

      @Tian was in my CC class This is spot on

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Such a pity, she had her whole life ahead of her…my condolences to her family and friends.

  • CC'14 says:

    @CC'14 I never knew her, but I am sending all positive vibes I have to those who did.

    1. SEAS'14 says:

      @SEAS'14 Same. God bless her.

  • Claire says:

    @Claire Out of respect for friends, family, and the Columbia community, we’re going to be suspending our comment policy and moderating all of the comments on this post. In times like this, people draw comfort and support from their peers, and I have no interest in allowing people to detract from the gravity of this incident.

    1. honest question says:

      @honest question Who is responsible for developing Bwog’s policy on what subject matters are suitable for obnoxious and/or snarky comments? Is the death of a student the only thing that counts?

      1. why are people thumbs downing this? says:

        @why are people thumbs downing this? the commenter isn’t suggesting that this thread shouldn’t be censored; it seems like the question is about the threads that don’t make the cut. i’d appreciate an answer, too.

        1. Claire says:

          @Claire We have a comment policy that you can refer to, and you’ll see that in there, the editors reserve the right to moderate any exceptional circumstances. Comments that are deemed to violate the policy by the editors are unapproved, but honestly, this is an increasingly rare occurrence. Over the years the comments on Bwog, while still admirably opinionated, have become significantly more critical rather than outright and irrelevantly offensive.

          We stick by our commitment to an open forum, and strive to be clear if we are ever deviating from this, as in these circumstances. At the end of the day, Bwog is run by people too, and as members of the Columbia community, have to act in what we believe are the best interests of our peers. You guys have pretty thick skin, but some of the comments on this post were hands-down unacceptable.

          If you ever have any questions about a particular post or incident, please email us at

    2. Thumbs up says:

      @Thumbs up I agree with that decision, Claire.

  • ryan says:

    @ryan tina was in my lit hum freshman year and was great in class. my condolences to all of her friends, she was a really good person.

  • From Spec says:

    @From Spec “People should feel that they get support,” he added.

    Staff members from CPS were meeting with Bu’s friends and residents of River Hall, where Bu lived.

    The death was being investigated as a possible suicide, Shollenberger said.

    Bu was discovered dead after a concerned friend was not able to reach her and contacted the Resident Advisor, who set into motion the emergency response system, according to Shollenberger.

  • sad says:

    @sad the first person who talked to me on my floor last year. she was a very sweet person. thoughts to her family and friends.

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