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Working through grief while being away at college

Grief refers to the emotions, thoughts, and actions associated with losing someone or something significant.

Experiencing grief is a natural and normal emotional response to loss, which people experience differently at some point in their lives, even during college.

One in three college students between 18 and 23 had lost a loved one in the past year. Half of the college students in this age group had experienced a loss in the past two years, leaving them to work through their emotions while juggling additional stressors such as school, work, and sometimes doing it hours away from the support of their family.

Grief refers to the emotions, thoughts, and actions associated with losing someone or something significant, such as a relationship, a cherished person, good health, a job, an item, or anything that holds value to an individual. Although it can be challenging, it is essential to process loss, the underlying cause of grief, to restore balance.

Because grief is processed differently by everyone, it can be difficult to identify how grief is manifesting. Gaining an awareness of the way grief impacts daily life is a part of the process of coping with grief.

Grief does not come in a specific order of emotions or phases. At some point, most people will encounter a preoccupation with the emotion of loss and an inability to concentrate. Other responses to grief include:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Sense of numbness
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Changed eating habits
  • Rollercoaster of emotional energy

Although these symptoms are common, they are very intense and are a normal part of the grieving process. Maintaining connection with groups and ourselves allows us to engage in activities that brought joy before the grief began.

“Grief brings us into the unknown, but it is necessary for the various losses one must experience,” said Rosecrance Director of Chaplaincy Christopher Druce Jones. “What is most important is for the process to happen in a healthy manner and for the individual to work through the pain of the loss or change.”

Although grief is not classified as a mental health disorder, it has the potential to trigger past traumas or underlying mental conditions. Persistent grief may indicate a need for professional help. In such cases, seeking treatment can assist individuals in coming to terms with their loss and finding acceptance and peace.

Anyone who is struggling to process grief may benefit from speaking to a mental health professional. Caring experts are available to help those who want relief. Call 888.928.5278 to find support.


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