5 Stages of Grief: College Edition

5 Stages of Grief: College Edition

Finals have college students in the stages of grief

Finals are less than a week away. Needless to say, most college students are either in panic-mode, meltdown-mode or face palm-mode. Late nights in the library are now commonplace, with everyone jacked up on caffeine or energy drinks to get through these trying times. Regardless of the mode you are in, every college student is currently going through these stages of grief.

1) Denial

The “denial stage of grief makes people try to rationalize their overwhelming emotions, which is what many college students are doing right now. You try to block out reality and hide from the facts. Not to burst your bubble, but finals are actually here. At this time of year, when everything is so crazy—tests, last-minute assignments, making sure your grades and attendance are correct in Blackboard, and with approaching holidays—it can be hard to grasp that the most weighty exams are upon us. Finals are this week. Give yourself a minute to let that sink in. In this stage of grief, you don’t want it to be real. It can’t be, can it??? Finals??? Already??? No way. You are unable to grasp the reality of it all. This is why instead of studying, you’re huddled in a blanket in front of the TV, comforting yourself with Hallmark Christmas movies.

2) Anger

When the reality finally hits, it becomes the “anger” stage. Now that the disbelief has worn off and you have snapped out of your initial shock, you are outraged. You cannot believe that there is such little time left in the semester. You are angry because at this point, it is too late to try to do anything to change your fate and oh how you wish you could. In some classes you either need to make a perfect score (which we all know ain’t happenin’) or well…you don’t want to think about the alternative.

3) Bargaining

This stage is step in a more positive direction. You have had some time to fully come to terms with the fact that your Bio final is in two hours. When “bargaining,” people feel the need to regain control of themselves and their emotions, but still feel helpless and vulnerable. At this point, you’re probably giving yourself a pep talk to mask the fact that you would like to run across the Atlantic Ocean to avoid this final. “I got this. I studied. It won’t be that bad…unless she asks about Chapters 18 and 20.” Another type of “bargaining” response is to plead with a higher power to reverse the inevitable fate. I have often found myself asking God to stop time for me so that I can have more type to study!

4) Depression

Depression usually hits when there is about one hour left to exam time. Now, there is no point in continuing to try to cram because now your nerves have clued in to the fact that the final is really about to happen. And of course you don’t feel like you know enough and in your mind you have failed. You have lost all hope and feel like there is no point. You sink into a low mood that makes it hard to function. You are mostly silent, concentrating on the fact that your GPA is about to die. You have already started making plans for what you will do better next semester and what you will do if you end up failing.

5) Acceptance

Not everyone reaches this stage of grief, and it is not a time of happiness, but rather a time of calm and withdrawal from the negative energy that once held you back. There is no better place for acceptance for the college student than in the classroom, on the day of, after your Final Exam has been handed to you. This is it. It is now in your hands. So, you take a deep breath, pick up your pencil, and begin.

Best of luck to all my fellow college peers on final exams!

May time respect you, panic neglect you, studying protect you, and your GPA respect you.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Photography

Popular Right Now

21 Things You Say To Your Roommate If You Two Are Practically A Married Couple

Until I made this list, I didn't realize how absurdly close my roommate and I were. #sorrynotsorry

Let's be real: you and your roommate have said these things at least one to each other.

1. "Can you turn the light off?"

2. "We probably shouldn't go out for dinner again...right?"

*Complains about not having money* *Spends $8 on Chipotle three times a week*

3. "I always pick where we go"

This is a fight you have with your roommate almost every day when you're roommate is as indecisive as mine.

4. "Do you have my keys?"

5. "Can you pick me up?"

6. "Is it hot in here?"

7. "Does this outfit look stupid?"

The answer is usually yes. No offense.

8. "Can you throw this out for me?"

9. "Can we get ice cream?"

10. "I need coffee."

This text is usually sent when you know your roomie is out running errands... errands you know are near a Starbucks.

11. "Can you tell me what happened?"

12. "Are you asleep?"

There have been times where I couldn't tell if you were asleep or dead... and I had to say this out loud to check if you were alive.

13. "Check your DM's."

*Cracks up in the middle of nowhere* *Catches a weird stare from your roomie across the room*

14. "Can you plug this in for me?"

15. "Can you pick a movie?"

Another instance where "I always pick" happens.

16. "Look at this girl's Instagram."

*Chucks phone across the room at roommate*

17. "Can you call me?"

18. "Can we meet up?"

19. "Can you help me find my phone?"

*Tries to leave the house to do something* *Loses phone* Every. Time.

20. "What should we do tonight?"

*Tries to get ready to do something fun* *Ends up staying in for another girls' night*

21. "Why isn't everyone as great as us?"


Cover Image Credit: Juliarose Genuardi

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.


I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

Related Content

Facebook Comments