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Grief is a natural part of life and it can be caused by many different events, such as losing a loved one or ending a relationship. No one can truly prepare for these things to happen, as they are often unexpected. Throughout college, I have received many phone calls informing me of sorrowful events happening at home. Dealing with loss is always difficult, but I have found it especially difficult to receive the news at school, alone. The stress of being a student and keeping up with assignments and exams while feeling completely torn apart is not an easy feat. I often felt very detached from the circumstances, focusing on school so I wouldn’t fall behind, which would ultimately leave me with a giant heap of sadness to deal with once the weekend came. 

The grieving process looks different for everyone. It is important to let all of your feelings out and be open with people who are close to you. Talking to friends and reaching out to professors is a good step because they are willing to help in any way you need. Extending deadlines could be beneficial to help you perform at your best after spending time with yourself to dissect your feelings. In terms of talking with friends, you can be honest and let them know whether you need time alone or if you need some extra help. Similarly, if your friends are dealing with loss, it is important to reach out to them and be patient. Reaching out to counselors is also a great way to discuss your emotions and receive valuable feedback about the grieving process. 

I often felt alone even with the help of my friends, simply because I wanted to see my family, and I felt that they were the only people who felt the same way I did. It can be hard to travel home mid-semester to visit, but making phone calls helped me tremendously during these times. 

It is okay to indulge in self-care when dealing with grief, and it is okay to hang out with friends. I often feel very guilty engaging in activities that I enjoy when I feel like I am supposed to be grieving. I always thought of it as distracting myself from something more important, when in reality, you need to be taking care of yourself during the process. If distracting you is beneficial to your mental health, then it is important to do so. Doing things that you enjoy, like taking baths, going on walks, listening to music, and cooking is important while also maintaining good eating and sleeping habits

Grief comes in waves. One day you can feel completely fine and the next you feel heartbroken. Months can go by without you thinking about what has happened, and you can feel like everything is crashing down again. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to process your emotions. Everything will be okay once again. 

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Serena Chiasson

U Mass Amherst '24

Serena is a sophomore at UMass Amherst studying biomedical engineering.