OC HIGH / STUDENT NEWS & VIEWS : Cobain's Death Leaves Lessons : Suicide: His passing should serve as a warning to teen-agers not to turn to drugs to try to improve a life or a career that's unfulfilling. Instead, make a change.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Richard Kwok, 16, is a senior at Westminster High School

In mixing drugs and career, Kurt Cobain sadly made the same mistake as representatives of earlier generations--including Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison.

His suicide does not set an example for teen-agers to follow; it is, instead, a lesson.

With a successful career and rising popularity, Cobain just wasn't happy. This depression, mixed with drug use, only got worse.

His music demonstrated his recurring mood swings. In the video "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Cobain smiled a lot and jumped around, perhaps a time when he was happy. The contrary "Come as You Are" reveals his depression in a song about openness and guns.

Exploring another career might have helped him find the happiness he didn't find in being a rock star. His mistake is a guide for us all: Be intent on a career that will bring happiness; try another path if the one you are on is unfulfilling.


Cobain is a symbol of progression and confusion. He changed contemporary rock and helped launch grunge, yet that wasn't enough. Such Angst is a common feeling among teen-agers. This is why his lyrics appealed to us, because they represent the growing-up aspect of life.

His music touched me and many other teens. Nirvana's albums--"Bleach," "Nevermind," "Incesticide" and "In Utero"--expressed the collective feelings of today's youth.

The song "Sliver" described his own youth, in which he was shuffled between relatives. The bond he shared with my generation is what made Nirvana's songs so popular.

Just as his music affected people in different ways, so has his death.

Some of my classmates shared their thoughts:

"What a bummer. He should have gotten help; he had enough money," said Chris Pogue.

"This proves that money doesn't buy happiness. No one should kill themselves--it's never that bad," said Nguyen La.

"You'd think doctors would have seen it coming with his self-hating lyrics," said Steve Greenwood.

Non-Nirvana fans expressed themselves, too.

Linda Plange said she wasn't shocked because the signs of depression were there.

Sharon Maher described her empathy for the man who chose to kill himself instead of recovering.

Geoffrey Dicker said Cobain was able to reach a lot of people through his music, which is what rock legends are made of.


Ironically, nirvana means the highest state of peace and freedom. I'm sure most teen-agers, and I for one, can only hope Cobain has found his own nirvana.

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