How Suicide Interfered with my Diploma Exam

Trip Start Jul 25, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yesterday I got up really early. About 5 in the morning. I was so tired, I couldn't even hold my eyes open. Somehow I managed to get down the stairs. I continued to the train station. The ICE to Stuttgart was already waiting at the platform. "Good," I thought. This calmed me down. I was really excited because yesterday was the day of my exams. They were in the city of Stuttgart, which is 350km south of Cologne. There's a fast train, connecing Cologne and Stuttgart. It's an ICE train and it takes only a bit more than 2 hours. Or it should.

Some kilometers before Mannheim the train stopped abruptly. The passengers were looking at each other. I had just started to revise the knowledge for my exam. Then the train operater made a statement through the train-speaker system: "We've got a situation here. Our train has been in an accident with a person." Clearly a suicide attempt. Everybody knew. Jumping in front of an ICE train, is a popular way to committ suicide in Germany. And there is nothing the train conductor can do about it. This train travels at more than 200 or 300 kilometers per hour. It's impossible to stop.

Other passengers started to be grumpy. "Last time it took them 5 hours to solve the situation, " one of them said. I was worried. It was 7 o'clock now. My exam was at 12. I couldn't afford to stand around here for five hours.

Surprisingly I didn't panic. I just stayed calm. I went to the train conductor to tell him about my situation. Nothing he could do. I wasn't even allowed to leave the train. I hadn't expected something else. After all, I was traveling with Deutsche Bahn. Then I called my friend Alex, just to talk to somebody. He did a very good job in calming me down. Thanks, Alex. I returned to my seat and tried to study. It didn't really work.

I thought about this man or woman who jumped in front of the train. This made me realize how unhappy people are in our society. Maybe he was a dentist or a lawyer. Probably somebody who had a universtiy degree. People in other countries would die for getting a university degree. Here we get them almost for free and kill ourselves later on, because everything is so depressing. Or because we have too much debt. It's really all about the money these days. Tragic. I didn't really feel the urge to continue studying for my exam. But I did anyway.

After two hours of waiting in the German country-side, the train finally continued. This was amazing. Deutsche Bahn had clearly improved their risk-management. In the old days, the train would have had to wait there for at least half a day.

I arrived in Stuttgart on time. I went to my exam. People there were very friendly to me. It started all good with questions about my diploma thesis. Then one professor started to ask me philosphical questions: "What is quality?" "What is the difference between effectivity and efficiency." Unfortunately he didn't like my philosophical answers. I passed the exam anyway and went home to Cologne with the next train. What a day. What a feeling. I have some sort of a degree now! I don't really know what it's worth, but it's a good feeling :-). Cheers and good-bye to the world of the German business students. Hopefully during future encounters I will be on the outside of this peculiar club.
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Heather on

Awesome posts!

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