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.
Thanks Lindsey for sharing this. I had epilepsy during my college career at W&M and the college was always there for me. I’ve always found it to be a very rigorous but fair environment.
If you do not have experience with mental illness, stay in your lane and do not try to equate your experiences with ours. You suffering through your worst days is not equivalent to us on ours. Moreover we experience our best days very differently, if even at all. Externally, we have a very different interaction with the rest of the world because often if people cannot see it, if it is not a physical ailment, or a bad situation, they do not comprehend it or attempt compassion. It is assumed it is weakness, it is laziness, it is stupidity that makes us the way we are. Internally we may not have all the chemical pieces we need to function normally. That means for some of us, even our best days are still godawful. We cannot escape our own minds. The school does not have adequate resources to deal with that. Sometimes we are not able to be comforted, cannot feel the love and support that is shown to us, and we can be doing pretty okay in life and still want to die or hurt ourselves.
You’re trying to make the point that one person’s bad experiences are not representative of the reality. Neither are yours. And what’s more, you’re trying to compare apples to oranges. Have your apple, but don’t call it something it’s not. It is so uncompassionate of you to assume the email is not one that has been experienced by many, and that’s what caused the outrage. It is so narrow of you, and patronizing, to assume that people who struggle with mental health problems on this campus are just “not utilizing resources.”
Respectfully, there’s no reason to be hostile to another person’s point of view about the college. It sounds as though your needs go far beyond what any institution of higher learning is equipped to deal with.
I am angry at an opinion piece which is both offensive and poorly researched founded upon the false notion that mental illness and being in a bad situation are equivalent. I am not hostile at her point of view, i am hostile that she called these two very different things equivalent, and then even went so far as to try to say that that email is not common(which it is depending upon the professor) and that the only problem those with mental health issues face is not utilizing woefully inadequate resources.
My issues are not what i was writing about i’m talking about those of students relevant to this discussion meaning those who have paychological issues that push them to regularly contemplate suicide. There are ways to help students that the school could implement if they had the funding but they dont. Do you know how difficult it can be to get an appointment at the counseling center? Or hiw difficult it is to get access to a therapist if you dont have access to a car? There are plenty of changes that could be made if the institution and its students and alum pushed hard enough for it.
After reading some more of your posts I’d guess you’re more interested in getting attention than a serious discussion.
i am curious as to what lead you to that conclusion. The fact that i have a blog?
I really don’t care to get into a discussion with you if you don’t mind.
I hope the irony of you accusing me of not being interested in serious discussion and then telling me you dont want to discuss this is not lost on you.
Thanks Lindsey! Your experience mirrors my own with W&M.
Thanks Lindsey for this. It mirrors my own experience with the college.