Grief encompasses all of the ways we respond to the loss of someone or something that is important to us. Grief manifests in different ways for different people, and it’s important to remember that there is no one ‘correct’ way to grieve. Whether you or someone you know is grieving, here are some tips that can help you navigate and cope with grief.
Life events that can trigger grief
There are a variety of events that can trigger grief. Sometimes, losses are concrete, such as when a loved one passes away. Other losses may feel more ambiguous, such as when we move to a new place, change majors or break up with someone.
Here are a few examples of life events that can trigger grief for students:
Death and dying
The death or impending death of a friend, family member, significant other, pet or loved one.
Coping with a terminal or life-altering illness or the illness of a loved one.
Divorce or separation
Life changes, like the divorce or separation of one’s parents, or other serious family conflicts.
Students may fall short or not reach the level of academic success that they expected. This can include things like test scores, GPA, admission to a specific degree program or other academic milestones.
Coping with relationship problems from general conflict to abusive behaviors. This can also encompass the end of interpersonal relationships, including friendships or romantic partnerships.
Students may grieve the loss of their ideal career, struggles securing a job after graduation or difficulties related to financial security or debt repayment.
What does grief feel like?
People who are grieving may experience a wide range of reactions and emotions. Feelings of grief can be intense or subtle. It’s also normal for feelings of grief to surge and subside over time. Here are some common symptoms that people experience during the grieving process:
Supporting someone who is grieving
Grief is often misunderstood, and it can be a tricky subject to approach, especially if someone has experienced a loss. However, there are ways that we can support ourselves and others through the process.