Past student talks stress
I read with great interest of the forum that was conducted on campus pursuant to the suicide of a student and the issue of the pressure and competitive nature of the institution rising to the fore.
It is obvious to me that nothing has changed at Carnegie Mellon since I attended from 1974 through 1977.
Perhaps my first mistake was to have attended the school out of a sense of duty to my late mother, Gloria Siegle Spiegler, a distinguished 1943 alum from the School of Music, who enjoyed a wonderful and gratifying career as piano performer and teacher. Mother treasured her days at what was then Carnegie Tech.
I was accustomed to being one of the students that excelled in elementary and high school, but found that at Carnegie Mellon, I was no longer anything special as one forgotten member of a group of brilliant individuals. I was taken aback by the lack of individual instruction, attending lectures with many times the number of students as there were in my high school classes. It was easy to get lost among the masses in these huge lecture classes. I also had great difficulty in comprehension and absorption of material delivered by teaching assistants that had poor English skills, something to which I was not at all accustomed.
I felt that there was little, if any, help for the student that found the atmosphere at Carnegie Mellon to be as challenging and intimidating as I did.
I went on to attend and graduate from Robert Morris University with a degree in Business Administration and to a successful career in the public sector which continues after almost three decades. I have a soft spot in my heart for the school predicated upon what it meant to my beloved mother (and I donated her two prized pianos to Carnegie Mellon upon her death in 2005), but CMU was not a factor in any of my achievements.