When you think of the struggles of uni you never think of dealing with a death on top of assignments, exams, lectures and hating yourself in the morning for partying till so late. It can make you feel isolated and is an extremely mentally draining time. Two years ago when I was in my first year and first term of university my mum suddenly passed away. So far it has been the worst moment of my life. I was new to university still trying to get the gist of things, make friends and handle the new stresses of university. However, I got through it, and if you are at university and are struggling with bereavement then this article will help you.
Surround yourself with loved ones
Try not to isolate yourself, surround yourself with close friends and family, it is good to have a support system, people you can talk to so you don’t bottle your feelings up. This may be harder if your uni is relatively far from home so you don’t get to see your family members and close friends from home often. It may be hard for you to open up about such a deep issue to your new uni friends; if this is the case then reach out to your university student support and advice department. Most universities have one and they provide professional advisors and people to talk to for people who need it. If you have any deadlines approaching then they can contact your lecturers and tutors to provide an extension or postpone an exam if you don’t feel comfortable contacting them yourself. Thankfully for me, my sister goes to the same university as me so I always had someone at university to talk to that knew exactly what I was going through.
Take time off
It’s okay to have a break from university. If you contact your course department and let them know they will understand and you will be allowed time off. Then when you are ready to go back they can organise catching up for you if necessary. My friend’s grandad passed away while she was at university. She contacted her course department and got a couple weeks off which she spent at home which really helped her get through it. You will need to provide evidence for this, which is usually in the form of a medical note or a copy of the death certificate if you can provide it. When my Mum passed away my uni had just broken up for the Christmas holidays so I was about to get time off anyway, however if I didn’t get the Christmas holidays off I would have definitely taken time out to grieve.
It’s okay to be happy
When you do finally start to feel better and happier it may be hard to let yourself feel any positive feelings. It may not feel right continuing your life and being happy without your loved one there anymore, you may struggle to get back to your routine of uni or go out and have fun with your friends. Just know that it is okay to be happy, you don’t need to feel guilt for being happy. Accepting happiness is a good way to try let go of grief. Your loved one wouldn’t want you to be mourning over them forever. They would want you to do well at university and enjoy your time there, so do that when you feel ready to.
I understand that everyone’s experience of losing a loved one is different, however, I hope my article has helped you in some way. Just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Know anyone going through bereavement at uni? Help them by sharing this with them.