Yesterday morning they found the body of a student in one of the rooms in my residence. Apparent suicide. The story is that the guy’s alarm clock had been going off for three days, and someone finally complained about it. The building admins opened up the door and found him there. 

I didn’t know him, so it’s not a personal tragedy. It’s just a tragedy in general.

They’re not releasing much information about this, understandably. All I know for sure is:

1) He was 18 years old.
2) He was in his first year at Queen’s.
3) Before Queen’s, he went to Ridley College (one of my high school’s rivals).
4) He was in the arts/sciences program.
5) He was located on the south side of the building that I live in.

So the big question is, why? He was a smart kid – you have to be smart to get into both Ridley and Queen’s. Why would a smart kid make a decision like this?

I can’t say for sure, and I don’t want to make any assumptions, but I think that part of it had to do with the transition to life away from home. Having gone to high school at Ridley means that he’s probably from St. Catharine’s. Geographically, that’s not much farther from Kingston than Toronto is. However, it’s much more difficult to get to from Kingston because of a little body of water called Lake Ontario. In order to get home, he would have the option of a five hour drive or two trains totalling anywhere from five to seven and a half hours, plus an additional half hour after that. It’s unlikely that he had a car, and it’s also unlikely that he had a friend from St. Catharine’s with a car who would be willing to drive five hours at will. As for the double train ride, that probably didn’t happen often because of the cost ($175 for a round trip), and the sheer exhaustion that a seven hour ride puts you through. So, I’m guessing he didn’t go home very often. That surely made it very difficult for him to cope.

But damn. There was a month left. If he had just held out for another 30 days, he could have been back with his family.

Clearly there are other many other elements to this that I’m not aware of. Homesickness alone is no reason to kill oneself. Maybe there was trouble at home, too. Maybe he had mental stability issues. It’s all a great mystery. I really wish that I knew more about the situation so that I could comment more intelligently about it, but I don’t. Maybe that’s for the best.

My deepest condolences to the family.