College Student Grief Awareness Day: Tips for Juggling Grief with Student Life - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Everyday Living Faith
April 19, 2018

College Student Grief Awareness Day: Tips for Juggling Grief with Student Life

College is supposed to be the 'best' time in life, and in some ways, it is. However, those who view college through rose-colored glasses fail to realize that students face considerable struggles during this transitional period.

On April 19 — College Student Grief Awareness Day — we honor the losses suffered by college students. We also acknowledge the life-changing journey students take as they overcome grief. Recovery looks a little different for every student; many find the following strategies particularly helpful:

Take a Weekend Off

Consumed by grief, can you fully engage in campus life? It's rarely wise to hide from recent tragedy. If possible, ditch your books, papers, and extracurricular activities for the weekend and head home. This is particularly important if you've lost a relative or close family friend. Attend the funeral or memorial if possible; this ritual offers much-needed closure and encourages you to not only mourn, but also celebrate your loved one's beautiful life on this world — and the journey to the next one.

Returning home may not be realistic if you attend college thousands of miles away. Thankfully, modern technology allows you to keep in touch. Share your grief over the phone or via Skype. Post sentimental photos and videos on Facebook or Instagram. These small measures will launch the healing process.

Join a Support Group

Sometimes, you just need to talk with somebody who understands how you feel. Yes, your college friends have also dealt with grief. For them, however, it might not be fresh. Support groups abound, both on campus and beyond. Meet regularly to share the sentiments that feel too raw or painful to let go in any other setting.

Help Others through Their Grieving

You may never know the full extent of the battles your fellow students face. Freshly acquainted with grief, however, you can lend a helping hand. Demonstrate empathy for others and let them know you're willing to listen as they unload their emotional burden.

Volunteer for an Important Cause

Honor your recently lost loved one by giving back to the community. Did this person express passion for a particular cause? This is your opportunity to make him or her proud. For example, if your grandma adored dogs, get involved with your local Humane Society.

Another option: acknowledging the circumstances that ended your loved one's life. Participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure or Relay for Life to honor those who succumbed to cancer. If no applicable events or charities exist near campus, work with fellow students to launch your own initiative.

Express Yourself

From Vincent van Gogh to Franz Liszt, grief has given rise to some of the world's most beautiful works of art and musical masterpieces. Your grief could also inspire something beautiful. At minimum, art provides a healthy avenue for working through difficult emotions. Music, dance, painting, journaling... choose the medium you find most compelling.

Look to the Bible for Solace

For millennia, Christians have turned to the Bible in times of need. Several passages can provide comfort as you struggle with sadness and anger. For example, Psalm 46 reminds us, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." Psalm 119:50 is similarly concise — and helpful: "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."

Grieving Christians often find solace in the Bible's heaviest passages. For example, many feel less alone after reading about great suffering in the Book of Job. Others prefer Revelations. In times of trial, turn to Revelations 41:4, which states, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

As a grieving college student, you're far from alone. From volunteerism to your Bible, sources of comfort abound. You can make it through this trial with help from your campus community.

If you’d like to learn more about professions that enable you to serve wholeheartedly and faithfully in your life’s work or want to learn more about a biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to introduce you to Christian perspectives at work in any field of study. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your ministry goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.