Grieving In College

Grieving In College

"Owning our stories of heartbreak is a tremendous challenge when we live in a culture that tells us to deny our grief." - Brene Brown

Prime Magazing

College campuses are not generally associated with grief, but according to Actively Moving Forward, between 22 and 33 percent of college students have lost a family member or close friend in the last year, which equates to roughly 4.5 million college students who are grieving. From my experience and from asking friends from colleges all over the country, colleges and universities have generally done an outstanding job with providing support for victims of sexual abuse, substance abuse, and depression, which is an incredible feat that I support whole-heartedly. However, grief is a very unique experience which requires its own type of attention and support. Student counseling centers are an indispensable resource, but in reality, only 10 percent of students, on average, utilize them. As a result, there must be more attention brought to these millions of young people, most of whom are suffering very privately. Grief is unique to everyone who experiences it and is incredibly complex and personal, but that should not hinder our ability to share our stories. Grief must not be a struggle that we fight alone.

Grief is a unique experience that everyone must grapple with in their own terms, but experiencing the incredibly deep emotions that grief requires is even more complicated when living as a college student. Most of these young people are living away from home and are forced to cope with their emotions while also being distanced from their family, who tend to be the people who understand the loss most deeply. Another aspect that makes grieving in college particularly difficult is that there is usually a great amount of support shown immediately following the loss, but grief often peaks four months after the loss, while the individual is generally expected to be moving forward. Furthermore, college is a very social place, as well as a place of academics and activity, and many grieving young people feel the pressure to immediately reintegrate themselves into the culture of college before they are emotionally prepared to do so. Consequentially, many students can feel isolated in their grief.

When my family lost my mother in October, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. Although I knew my friends at school would do anything they could to help me, I was just unable to express exactly what I needed. I’m still unable to express what it is that I need, but my best way of explaining it is that I need someone who understands exactly what I’m feeling in my heart, and I know that that is impossible because although everyone experiences loss, everyone experiences loss differently. The very deep personal emotions of grief have been difficult for me to share, especially among my friends at school. Brene Brown writes in her book "Rising Strong," “Owning our stories of heartbreak is a tremendous challenge when we live in a culture that tells us to deny our grief.” Grief is universal, yet rarely discussed openly. I believe part of the fact that grief is something that is kept so hushed is because it is so elusive and mysterious to us, but I also believe that this incomprehensibility that surrounds grief would be much more tolerable if people felt comfortable expressing their emotions openly.

I’ve had a handful of friends who have been an incredible support system and essential throughout this journey, and I am so incredibly thankful to all of them. I believe that sharing our stories of grief and heartbreak is crucial to healing. Storytelling is such an incredible gift of being human and allows us to grow in compassion and empathy, something imperative in understanding grief. As difficult as this process has been, and I’m sure will continue to be, I have found great respite and comfort in sharing what I can with people I love, and I can only hope that others who are experiencing similar losses in college can find a secure place to do the same.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

For a long time, Goya has been a staple in some Latino households. People carry around jars of Adobo when they eat at friend's houses and packets of Sazón Goya can be found in almost everyone's pantry. Many BuzzFeed lists, videos, and memes aimed at Latinos reference Goya somewhere.

But in a year that just keeps hitting us with bad news, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Trump was an "incredible builder" and that the US was "blessed" to have him as president at a White House event on Thursday.

Keep Reading... Show less

I've never been big on casual wear or athleisure. Most people who know me have never seen me in sweats. But, I do have those two or three pairs of sweats I can't resist climbing into the second I get home, the newest addition of which is the extra cozy Odyssey crewneck sweatshirt I got in an XL size to feel as close to being wrapped in a blanket at all times as possible.

In the past several months, I've started to expand my horizons, considering the ways in which I can bring my small wardrobe of comfortable bedroom clothing into the public. I've experimented with topping leggings and a sports bra with a denim jacket to the park, and an oversized sweatshirt worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with a belt when I'm out wearing leggings.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Dress Like Your Favorite 'Insecure' Characters — Without Spending $2,000

We take a look at the fashion of Insecure season 4, and how you can create these looks yourself.


Insecure is one of my favorite shows ever. It really encapsulates what it's like being a Black 20-something, trying to navigate the many ups and downs of life. Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that.

From life to relationships to careers, this show truly captures everything that runs through my mind on a daily basis. The show has a sense of realness and a strong frankness that makes you gravitate toward the characters and root for their success.

Keep Reading... Show less

Making A Food Instagram Was The Greatest Silver Lining To Come Out Of My COVID-19 Experience

With the crazy and scary times that 2020 has brought, find comfort in the one thing everyone loves: food.

The waiter briskly moves towards us and stops just a foot away table, balancing the black serving tray stacked high with the ceramic plates that make-up our dinner. From memorization, he beings gently, but purposely, sliding everyone's orders in front of them and within seconds I'm am starring my meal.

Keep Reading... Show less

Honey has been a staple in my Ayurvedic skincare routine since I was a kid and my grandmother used to make me homemade paste-like face masks by mixing chickpea flour, turmeric, honey, and yogurt together.

I now use honey head to toe — on my hair to make it extra shiny, on my face for its natural smoothing and anti-bacterial properties, and the rest of my body for its extreme textural and brightening benefits. Some people even use it on their armpits for honey's lightening effect on the skin.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

People Are Eating Salads For Breakfast, And It's About Time

As Americans we know we all need to eat more fruits and veggies, why not do it at breakfast?

I first started seeing a dietitian in late 2017. At the time, I was the heaviest I've ever been at about 210 lbs. At the first appointment, my dietitian asked me to record what I ate in a food diary so she could better understand my habits and give me better direction in changing my lifestyle. I did exactly that and returned a week later, diary in hand. After a cursory glance at the pages, she first remarked at how few fruits and vegetables I ate. Deep down I had already known that, but what I didn't know then was that I was far from being alone in that respect. According to a Times article, about 90 percent of Americans don't consume enough fruits and vegetables to meet current dietary guidelines. It's hardly rocket science as to why that is — many of our diets consist mainly of carbs and non-planted based protein. This isn't to say that carbs and protein are the devils; they're both parts of a balanced diet. However, vegetables and fruit are also part of a balanced diet — a part that often gets neglected. So, when I see people on Instagram eating salad for breakfast, I think to myself "It's about time!"

Keep Reading... Show less

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments