College is stressful enough for all students, among the exams, social life and part-time work, losing a family member or close friend during this time can seem extra overwhelming. The added burden of coursework (and potentially missed exams/deadlines) while attempting to properly grieve is difficult, but I have a few tips to hopefully soothe the stress, even if it’s just for a few days.
Step 1: Email your professors immediately! They are humans too, and they’ve surely lost someone significant or important in their lives. They are often understanding and will be able to work with you to make-up what you missed while you were absent.
Step 2: Make sure you go home, if you can afford to, or spend time with those you love who will help you grieve, or very likely are grieving with you. If you’re concerned that leaving campus, will cause your GPA to implode, revert back to step 1.
Step 3: If you are indeed having trouble with a stubborn professor (because losing someone during the Holidays is horrid, finals week is just as troubling). Take the time reach out to the higher-ups of the department, college or university. I know of one instance where the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs had to step in for a friend of mine’s, whose professor was struggling to provide arrangements to take a final exam at a different date.
Step 4: Relax. Read a good book, watch a good movie, take a long walk or a bike ride- maybe a drive. Get ice cream, or some other comfort food. This time certainly won’t be the most enjoyable of your experiences in life, but it’s helpful if you take some time for the grief process to kick it, and allow yourself to think independently.
Step 5: A good hug from a loved one while always help, with some shared laughs and a lot of love. Make sure you take some time to reminisce about the person whom you just lost. That will be the best way to positively remember them during your hurt and pain in the loss.