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.

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