Experiencing a Loss While Away at College

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, April 17, 2023

Losing a loved one can be devastating, but life does not always pause when you need it to. When away at college, you have to juggle grades, classes, a social life, and extracurriculars. Dealing with a death in the family can have a major impact on your life, especially when you are not surrounded by family and loved ones. If you experience a loss of a loved one while you are away at college, there are a few things you should consider. 

College Policies and Leaves of Absence

After a death in the family, you should reach out to the Dean of Students’ office regarding the school’s Leave of Absence policy. Generally, most colleges can excuse an amount of time for a death in the family. You may need to file paperwork with the office.
The dean’s office’s approval of your leave of absence can be important in the event that you have tests or project due dates approaching. 

Classwork and Your Professors

You should inform your professors if you are going to miss classes due to your loss. Generally, you should let them know in advance. Otherwise, a death in the family looks more like an excuse. Ask a friend or classmate to take notes for you. If possible, email any papers or homework you might have for the class, or discuss with your professor if an extension is needed.

Coming Home for the Funeral

If possible, try to come home for the funeral. Funerals are a time for families to grieve and process loss together. They provide closure, and having loved ones come together during hard times can be important. The days surrounding the funeral can often be overwhelming, and it helps to be in a familiar place surrounded by family and friends.

If you are Unable to Come Home

In the event that you cannot leave college to make the trip home, consider still taking some time to mourn. It can be easy to feel lonely while away from home. So be sure to reach out to some friends on campus for support. 

School Resources and Grief

Fortunately, many schools have grief counselors and therapy services available for their students. In many cases, their treatments are free. This can be a valuable resource for students, especially those struggling with grief. Consider visiting the counselor’s office to talk with someone about your grief. Some campuses will even have group grief counseling, which can be helpful for those who are feeling especially alone after their loss. 

The author of this post is not a professional therapist or counselor. For assistance in finding a grief counselor that is right for you, there are several resources out there. For our Grief Resource Center, written by Dr. Bill Webster, click here. 
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Grieving Pets

When a loved one passes, every member of the family is affected, even your pets. Dogs, cats, and other family pets can experience grief and can even mourn for a loved one. Below, we will discuss gr...

Grief and Dealing With Suicide

When faced with the loss of a loved one, the grief can be devastating. But when a loved one takes their own life, the grief that families feel afterward can often be complicated. According to the A...

Sunlight and Combatting Grief

As the weather gets warmer and summer is on the horizon, it is time for many people to schedule vacations and weekend outings. For people dealing with grief and depression, it may seem difficult to...

Grief and Selfishness

Grief is a complex emotional state. For many people, grief can bring out different sides of us. And while grief is not an excuse to act out, or be a bad person, it can often be a defense mechanism....

The First Mother's Day Without Her

Mother’s Day is a time we celebrate those who devoted their lives to caring for us, and for bringing us into the world. But it can also be a solemn reminder after the passing of your mother. The lo...

Can I be Both Cremated and Buried?

While most people assume you have to choose between burial or cremation at the end of life, there are more options available. One is to choose both. You can choose burial and cremation together. Be...

Retiring In Stages

Retiring at 65 has been a common aspect of the American lifestyle for generations, but full retirement at that age may not be in the cards for everyone. With costs of living consistently on the ris...

Funeral Planning for the LGBTQ+ Community

When it comes to end-of-life services, it is important to have a plan in order. This can be especially true for many LGBTQ+ people. In the event of your passing, your wishes should be upheld for yo...

Identifying Signs of A Stroke

Stroke is a leading cause of death in the US, killing 1 person in America every 3.5 minutes. The risk of stroke can increase as you age. For the safety of you and your loved ones, it is important t...

Donating Your Body To Science

Body donation is a process that very few Americans decide to participate in. But, it is a practice that can lead to advances in medical science, improved medical training procedures, and more. This...