Grieving in college: you’re not alone

Grieving in college: you’re not alone

Grieving in college: you’re not alone
July 10
19:26 2017

I heard that dealing with death and grieving over someone close to you is difficult to handle. I didn’t know how to do it or what to expect when my grandfather passed away three weeks ago.

He had some tough days during finals week last May, and I missed a lot of school and work because of that. When he passed, I was taking midterms for my summer classes and was working almost every day. He was in the hospital for months on end and his death was something my family and I tried to prepare for and accept. Then when it happened, I felt ways that I couldn’t anticipate.

Grieving over the loss of a loved one is an inevitable challenge, and being a college student with multiple jobs strengthens the difficulty. We’re young, and death doesn’t usually come around us often.

A 2006 study from Purdue University showed that grieving college students’ grade-point averages often drop during the affected semesters, and will most likely deter the ability for college students to perform academically. Among first-year male students who experienced a death, the mean GPA “was 2.41 during the semester of the death,” while other males had a mean GPA of 2.74. Among first-year females during the semester of the loss, “the mean GPA of the bereaved students was 2.73,” compared to the 2.83 of other females.

When someone asks how I am doing, it is pure instinct to say “60/40” – something Papa would say as one of his humorous quirks. “60/40” means you’re doing more than great, or doing really well.  I have to stop myself because I’m honestly not at the moment.

However, I didn’t let a loss stop me from living. I knew seizing the day was what Papa ultimately wanted me to do. He was proud of all of his grandchildren, including me, and never failed to remind us.

Take care of yourself and use resources that campuses offer. Our very own University of North Texas has counseling services and an easily accessible wellness center you should use to your advantage. Finding alternatives to grief is something I have seen as advantageous for someone dealing with loss.

The few days I spent at my grandparents’ house leading up to the funeral, Nana kept talking about her plans to remodel the rest of the house, and once you got her talking about it, she wouldn’t stop. She’s a strong and intelligent woman, and I give her all of the credit in the world for it.

As us college students make our transition into the “real world”, grief can throw a huge wrench in it. Don’t let it. If grief has taught me anything, it is that it is crucial to keep going and not let anything stop you. It is okay to cry and it is okay to have a meltdown. Continue to live the life that your loved ones wanted you to live, and live for them.

Talk to someone who has experienced grief as well. It affects people in different ways, but knowing they have gone through grief and survived makes oneself feel better in their own personal journey.

I have had few friends experience a loss like mine during college, and honestly, it helped me get through it. Listening, helping and learning are all things to take into account with a grieving friend.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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