Student compiles reference list, dies

November 8, 2012|

Student Asleep


A STUDENT HAS DIED from stress and exhaustion not long after compiling a reference list which may have taken five hours to complete.

The student, whose parents wish for him to remain unnamed, was a third year Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Melbourne. He had finished a 2,500 word case study for a Media and Communications subject for which he had done extensive research.  The student was found collapsed at his desk.

“He called me . . . before and said he had finished the case study and had been doing his reference list for about three hours, and said that he would call once it was complete. He never called, and so we became anxious.”

Sandra said that her son was an intelligent and high-achieving student, who always went above and beyond what was expected for him from his lecturers.

“This time he just worked too hard . . . The case study itself was taking two weeks, and he picked a difficult subject. I don’t think he slept that night either, so the reference list must have been the . . . finishing blow.”

It is speculated that when the student had finished the list, he had rested for a moment at his desk, where he died in sleep from exhaustion and stress. An autopsy report not only indicated that he died of exhaustion, but also that he was malnutritioned and dehydrated. His parents said that he was not eating properly due to study-related stress.

The reference list was 33 items long and he was using the Harvard referencing system.

Virgil Devereaux

Virgil Devereaux

Editor at The Said. Melbourne-based writer, editor and journalist.

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18 Responses to Student compiles reference list, dies

  1. Elise Reply

    December 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    this is like that guy who died in china from staying up watching football and not sleeping

  2. Bhavana Nayer Reply

    June 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    33 references is a very short reference list actually for a 2500 word assignment. Its not the reference list but the mode of study itself. Staying up late, not eating well, taking less fluids. May his soul rest in peace! and may all students understand the importance of eating healthy and sleeping well despite the workload of assignments! :(

  3. Justin G. Reply

    June 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    33 is a short REFERENCE!?!??! Its not a thesis right? just an essay right? I don’t know where you study but god damn you might place too much effort for a 2,500 word essay my friend. I get HDs with >20 reference. RIP to his hardwork.

  4. Ben Reply

    June 3, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    this guy is intelligent and achieving only on grade but he is not wise enough

  5. NJ Reply

    June 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    RIP. But tbh this guy is too weak. We architecture students at Uni Melbourne always have to stay up at least 2 nights for every work. And we didnt die.

    • Ann Reply

      June 4, 2013 at 10:28 am

      But do the architecture students also go through malnutrition and dehydration? Those two factors make a difference.

      • C Reply

        June 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm

        Totally. We have a mental health grant to go around to provide meals to the archi students specifically. Occurs in a lot of areas of study mainly meds, media and communication but Architecture is infamous for it.

    • jcdenton Reply

      June 5, 2013 at 12:18 am

      How insensitive of u to say that he’s weak After he’s alr dead!! Give him credit where credit is due! Y dun u try not sleeping for a few days n being completely stressed out n worried n then wad if u as the parent reads that comment??? Instead of saying just RIP, u had to go n say: he’s weak! As if u r the almighty student?! May God Rest his soul! A poor end to a good person!

    • Asskicker Reply

      June 5, 2013 at 2:17 am

      Not yet. Your life might have shortened significantly already

  6. EJS Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 2:59 am

    I can honestly believe this. I do a Theatre Design course and I had a friend last year who collapsed and had to be taken to hospital due to malnutrition. For assessment we work on a production and we were working on costumes. For 3 weeks straight we didn’t go to bed before 2 in the morning, i personally was living off 2min noodles, but she had nothing at home. Only after this did the lecturers “re-think” the assessment.

  7. Varsha Venkatesh Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Wait, this isn’t a joke?

  8. Nathan Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

    He didn’t die from lack of sleep, he died from exhaustion and stress *in* his sleep. Read the article…

  9. Ben Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I agree with NJ, weak. Man up son, if 33 references were the death of you, you probably wouldn’t have survived very long in the jungle that is media and communications.

  10. J Tilly Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    it isn’t the refs that killed him… it was the prolong stress n tiredness… God bless the man!

  11. HEvans Reply

    June 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Kinda funny how most people here are gloating about how tough they are going thru more stressful situations back in uni. Wake up guys – this isn’t a pageant. Fact of the matter is, you should be appalled when you compare yourself to others that have succeeded in life without going thru the same cesspool. And no, if you’re not smart enough – I’m not talking bout those born with a silver spoon, or cheating their way to success.

    • Lyn Toke Reply

      June 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      I totally agree with you I was born poor graduating in my degree end of this year and working full time isn’t easy. Working full time to support myself and study to meet assignments deadlines is very tiring staying late at night till early morning is physically draining. Especially a person like me wasn’t born genius is tough enough however, I survive.

  12. William Reply

    June 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

    How ironic would it be if any (or all) of the commenters who insulted the poor dead boy for being weak or bragged about how they themselves are super-students were to die this week.

    Not that we’re secretly hoping for such an outcome or anything. The world should not be deprived of more self-centred youth, especially the all-important architecture ones.

  13. Raj Reply

    June 11, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    NJ, I’m a surgical trainee and can attest to the dangers of lack of sleep and over work. We have to work hard through many nights not being able to come home to our families, but what we will certainly not do is brag about it and insult this poor student. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

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