It was really sad to hear news of our one housemate who chose the path of silence last Saturday.
For me and other housemates who have been staying at Bornsesteeg for more than a year, we are getting used to hearing of such sad news. It’s the third time that I have heard about a suicide in the flat since I have been living here. And before coming to Wageningen, my seniors also told me that at the building where I was going, there is always one suicide every year.
Last Saturday morning, I woke up with the sound of sirens. However, at that moment I did not give much attention to it. A bit later, in the quest of going out for shopping and then to Forum for my thesis work, I found many African housemates outside the entrance of the building. I smiled as I saw one friend and wanted to ask her how it was going her thesis. I asked her: ‘Is there a gathering here today?’ With no expression, she told me as she pointed at a location: ‘My friend, somebody just jumped from the building.’ It was only after she told me this shocking news that I saw a number of police vehicles and police officers that were investigating the case.
When I asked my friend about the person who had jumped she told me: ‘He was depressed and had pressure to study. He had confessed this in church and was referred to a doctor. Can you believe it? Study pressure can’t be cured by a doctor. He needed friends, he was not mental.’
Another friend told me: ‘I have heard many stories like this. Sometimes it is the fear of not graduating on time and the worry of where to raise money to complete the study. Sometimes it is too much loneliness that leads a depression.’
There are many speculations, but no one knows what happened to him, except for a few friends perhaps. However, it is understandable that people want to talk about it. Some discussions focus on the person’s life, his personal situation and whether the study pressure played a role. Some people blame the study system or the inadequate socialization facilities at the Bornsesteeg.
It is good that we talk about the issue. We cannot keep mum about it. There should be some reason that it is recurring every year. But let us not discuss the personal situation of one student, instead let’s see what we can do about this in a broader sense. For that, I would like to appeal to all of us that we stand by each other and help each other morally to create an amiable environment so that there is no one next year.
I pray that God gives strength to overcome this grief to his family and friends.
Mary Shrestha is from Nepal and she is doing her master in International Development Studies at Wageningen University.