Suicide on any college campus always offers a chance for an open conversation. As with any deeply troubling incident, an entire community is always left with a “what if” approach when dealing with the realities of people’s actions. It’s sad to see another member of our Tribe find themselves in such a terrible place and that taking their own life was the only salvation. What’s even more troubling is the understanding that it didn’t have to be this way.
I was married once. At 22 I got hit by the love bug and thought that marriage was the best next step in helping my relationship flourish and unfortunately it wasn’t. I had to deal with the repercussions of that ill-fated decision while embarking on my senior year at William and Mary.
It was January of 2014 and it was difficult. One night, after a terrible night of debauchery, I literally walked away from a physically and abusive relationship, only to find myself without a home and sleeping on a friend’s couch. The next day I remember showing up to a foreign language class with a black eye and totally lost.
Where was I to go? How do I make it through this time without my ex-husband? Can I even make it through without him? A million thoughts came rushing into my head and I about lost it.
But the College was there for me and made sure that I didn’t take that trek down that dark abyss.
From a professor who reached out to me when I missed my midterm, to one of the Deans of Students and all of my amazing professors that took time to understand where it was that I was at. Last year was the worst year of my life and yet, I still felt as if the faculty had created a setting in which I had another family to lean on.
This latest suicide and the misplaced email that has now gone viral and graced the pages of the Washington Post don’t do the College any justice. The College was there for me in the hardest year of my life, and I will always have gratitude to all that helped me succeed in my educational endeavor.
Albeit with a not so good grade point average, I made it through my senior year after being kicked out of my home and left pretty much homeless and broke. More importantly though, is the fact that I made it through my senior year with much support from the College.
It’s easy to get lost in the hype of one individual’s story, but the College is there. The professors want to be there for you. The administration is there for you. The Dean of Students Office is an amazing place to start with. The counselors at the Counseling Center are another avenue to pursue. Professors are there. This I know a little too well.
It’s sad to see another suicide and the misplaced anger of a poorly-written email that is now a national talking point. That email doesn’t do anything to help the image of the College that I know so well.
There are numerous resources at the College that are completely underused. Capitalizing on one professor’s response to a very curt email is upsetting and unfounded. The College was there for me in the darkest period of my life. This I hold to such a great esteem, as many other colleges would have let me slip through the cracks. Maybe it wasn’t there for some students and that’s unfortunate. What’s more unfortunate is the fact that students feel that an email can compel a response that’s adequate to what they’re going through and not utilize the services available to them.
Email Lindsey Stroud at email@example.com.