It's A Unique Experience To Lose A Loved One While You're Far Away At College

It's A Unique Experience To Lose A Loved One While You're Far Away At College

It's not harder, it's not easier. It's just... different.


Most people have lost someone before. I know that. Whether you went through the grieving process in the comfort of your home or far away from the family that can help get you through the rough time, it does not discount the grief. It does not change it. Grief is grief, no matter where you are dealing with it or who helps you through it.

This is just my personal experience with it because I've never had to deal with the grief of losing one of my closest family members while being over a hundred miles away from home, from my family, from the people who understand what I'm going through better than anyone else.

About two months ago, I lost my grandpa.

I was home on break, so I was able to be surrounded by family and friends when it happened. I was able to see him one last time. But, as anyone who has dealt with grief before knows, sometimes the more time that has passed since the death and the more time the tragedy has had to break our fragile hearts and seep into our souls, it actually gets harder.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

Those are the feelings I came back to college with — those raw, heartbroken feelings of loss and loneliness, the realization that nothing is going to change and that he is really and truly gone.

I was so sure that this would crush me. I was so sure the distance from my family would make this grief unbearable. I was so sure that I would be crying in my dorm every day and driving home every weekend.

And for the first few weeks, I was sad. All the time. I didn't want to go to class; I didn't want to hang out with friends; I didn't want to go to club meetings. Because I didn't see a point to any of it.

Why am I doing all of this, when my grandpa — one of my best friends in life — is gone?

The days continued on, the weeks kept accumulating. And, eventually, I was sucked back into the little bubble that is college life. I thought of him every day, but I became so busy, I didn't cry every day. This little bubble that surrounds you in college, the little bubble that blocks out the rest of the world, has actually helped me to move forward. Classes, hanging out with friends, club meetings, and all my ambitions and dreams that are bursting at the seams to take root, engulfed me. I became absorbed in the bubble. And I don't regret it. I feel more accepting of the situation; I feel better equipped to handle it because I know what I'm doing inside this bubble makes him proud.

So, what is it like to lose a loved one while away at college? Hard, because you're so far away from your family, so far away from the people who understand you and understand your situation. There are some Mondays I wake up devastated, shook to the core as the loss settles in like a new realization; sometimes I just simply look at a picture and the waterworks start.

However, it has also provided me a unique opportunity to find my place in the world amidst the confusion and pain.

I can be the very best version of myself in college, the version that would make my grandpa proud, and I don't think that chance makes grieving him any easier, I just think it makes the grief more manageable. It makes handling the loss so, so different.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Power Of Journaling

Slowing down in a fast pace world.


In a world where everything is moving so fast pace, I have found comfort in taking small moments to reflect on the blurring images around me. I have always loved to journal, but recently I have found a system that works very well for me.

One habit that I have newly formed is creating a section in my journal that I like to call "Get Out of My Head." Life moves very fast and sometimes my thoughts can't keep up. This causes stress, anxiety, sadness and even the feeling of loneliness. I have created this section in my journal to be a safe place where I can just scribble down whatever is taking over my head, but there is a trick.

Like I stated previously, I have always loved to journal, but I never found ultimate comfort in it because I would go back and read what I wanted to remove from my mind. This was causing me to reexperience what I didn't want to. I highly suggest having a place in your journal that is essentially a flame for all th4e thoughts you want to rid of.

On the contrary, have a section in your journal where you love to look. I try and fill this section with happy thoughts, quotes, verses, and gratitude. This makes journaling and reading your entries something to look forward to, rather than not.

In conclusion, journaling is unique for everyone and it takes some time to figure out exactly the right way. But once you discover the safe place that journaling can be, it can change your life forever.

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