Monday, October 18, 2010

Get Help, People

When I was in school, there were two pervasive rumors about The College of William & Mary:

1. There is an above-average number of gay students.
2. There is an above-average number of suicides.

Now, living in the same fraternity house as Rob and Dave, I got used to the fact that #1 was pretty true. As for the second rumor, I never knew anyone in my four-plus years at the College that took his or her own life, so I figured it was bunk. Get this unfortunate piece of news, though. The third suicide in a year at W&M occurred last week. I have removed the names out of respect for the deceased, but I will reveal that the most recent student's name was Whitney.

Another William and Mary student commits suicide... Third this year

On Friday morning, the body of William and Mary sophomore ******, was discovered in the Lake Matoaka area.

In a campus-wide email, Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler said: “****** was a Sharpe Scholar who had tremendous academic talent. Her faculty have described her as having a particular passion for biodiversity and for exploring the relationship between the environment and quality of life issues.”

****** is the third William and Mary student to have committed suicide in 2010. In
April, ****** was found dead inside his car in a Virginia Beach parking lot; and in February, ****** was found dead in her dorm room.

Now, I am posting this neither to sensationalize nor to make light of this tragic pattern; rather, because we are the self-professed purveyors of taking life less seriously, and as there seems to be something rendering the student body of our alma mater unable to do so, perhaps we haven't done enough to market the message of our madness to these undergrads. I mean, in all seriousness . . . what the fuck is going on in Williamsburg these days?

Here's the little I know about William & Mary these days:

- It's harder to get into the school than ever.
- It's harder to stay in the school and graduate than ever.
- W&M professors are as historically cold and tight with grades as they are patently awkward at cocktail parties.
- In-state and out-of-state tuition is rising, so parental pressure to perform is increased.


- It's nearly impossible to drink alcohol.
- Greek Life is neutered beyond recognition.
- City ordinances prohibit living situations and gatherings that could be construed as fun.
- The town still offers no distractions -- unless Colonial America and/or archaeology, pancakes, Christmas Mouse, or caddying for crotchety white people (no offense, Danimal) are one's bag.
- Students are brighter and more diligent than ever, ensuring that they are worse athletes with no wild side whatsoever, rendering club sports such as rugby, lacrosse, and Naked Club completely moot.
- The identity of the student body is now affiliated with such things as the homecoming drag queen, Thriller dancing, and, most recently, suicide. School spirit is non-existent.

I guess this is starting to make some sense. Now, with my Sociology degree, of course I am going to mull over the societal factors that are making this continue to happen. As a collective, though, we should be ensuring that if the Gheorghian philosophy isn't making its way to the furthest corners of the world, at the very least it's starting to permeate our old school.

Now back to your regularly scheduled dipshittery.


Danimal said...

good times.

Danimal said...

if only you could have posted this 1 day ago...Junior Seau would still be in one piece. way to go igor. way to go.

zman said...

I recall two suicides and I think they were the same semester: a kid flew to San Francisco and jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, then another flew to Liechtenstein and somehow killed himself.

Marls said...

Holy Crap, an Igor post! I forgot that these existed.

There were several suicides during my time on campus. However, notwithstanding rumors to the contrary, none were in direct due to regrets over hooking up with a denizen of Unit M.

I think the slow slide towards social suckitude may play a part in the recent rash of suicides, but that can't explain everything. I think the reall issue is the type of student that is now attracted to W&M. If you were a Thriller dancin', Swem on Sat. night lovin, quiddich playin', pug approvin' schmuck. . .

T.J. said...

San Fran kid was a Sigma Chi aptly named "Death" Ray...

Marls said...

That's some great f'ing syntax from me.

zman said...

I think the school's culture is a huge factor. Plenty of people go to school in the middle of nowhere and enjoy themselves. Others go to school in the middle of a metropolis and bum. MIT used to be a miserable sweatshop of a school until a girl committed suicide by lighting herself on fire in her dorm room. Since then every resume I see from MIT kids has a massively inflated GPA. They don't give B's any more and the kids all have great things to say about the school.

Not everyone has the confidence to pull a C+ average for 4 years.

mayhugh said...

The only thing I really recall about W&M academics is the screw job they pulled on me with my final GPA. I strrruugled mightily first year, and then made a massive comeback (in my studies and my wasteline), only to have my efforts to claw back to a solid B average thwarted by the effing three decimal places. What other school does three decimal places?

zman said...

mayhugh said...

Not to steal Rob's gimmick, but I need 24 points out of MJD tonight. I'm not optimistic.

rob said...

ask and you shall receive, mayhugh

TR said...

This awful Yankee loss is gonna find a way to go 3.5 hours on me.

Changing channels and watching Trent Edwards flail is just as painful as this Yankee performance

T.J. said...

cliff lee owns the yankees. very simple.

Marls said...

...and in six weeks, the Yanks will own Cliff Lee.

Shoot me now.

Danimal said...

yanks game slightly more exciting than jags game.

nary a suicide at jmu...can't recall one during or since, making jmu yet again, the winner.

timing of post interesting...sparked me to look up suicide articles in the town of galax, va where a sister of mine lives...she has known no less than 8 people that have killed themselves in the last 8-10 yrs, with the most recent being last wkd...i'm thinking she might be a serial killer.

go jags!

Igor said...

Did anyone happen to see a 2006documentary called The Bridge? I stumbled upon it on cable a couple of years ago, and it's as intriguing as it is morbidly depressing.

A guy set up a videocamera on the banks of the San Fran Bay for the better part of a year, and someone jumped off every 15 days or so. He then filmed their family and friends (who did not know he had footage of them jumping). Sounds like a sick premise, but you got some backstory on the people and the problems that led them there, and a glimpse at the collateral damage inflicted.

One cool part was when they filmed one of the kids who survived the jump. Halfway down he regretted the decision, then he was elated that he'd lived, then he felt a bump on his leg and thought, "oh, this figures, I survive the jump and now I'm going to get eaten by sharks," then he realized it was seals pushing him to the surface. Fairly insane.

Igor said...

Seriously, though, we can get back to YouTubes and scrotum jokes any time now.

Danimal said...

igor...i did watch that doc and meant to mention in previous email, but am slightly groggy. i think i got some bad alcohol last night.
really uplifting stuff.