Making Space to Grieve and Grow


As we’re entering (or maybe more accurately, right in the middle of) one of the busiest times of the year, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that for some students, midterms and papers may not be the only thing on your plate. It can feel alienating to be dealing with personal problems while also trying to keep up with school work. It can feel like you’re alone, the only one dealing with these things, or cause you to downplay what is really going on in your life. When everyone seems to be stressed and dealing with a lot, it can make you feel like your own feelings aren’t as valid or are an overreaction.

I’m hoping this can be a sign for anyone who needs it right now: you’re not overreacting, your feelings are valid, and you can take as much time as you need to get through whatever you’re going through. As much as it can feel like deadlines are suffocating, most of your professors will understand if you need a couple of days to catch your breath and deal with whatever you need to deal with. It can be hard to remember sometimes, but they were all students once, too, and they all probably had at least one semester that made them feel like they were drowning.

Sometimes it feels like school–or even just life in general–is a set of steps you have to take, in the same order, and at the same time, as everyone else in order to be successful. This isn’t true. The truth is that we’re pushed to stay on this track, but some of us have to swim an ocean to get to the next step while others have to jump a puddle. Slowing down to take the time you need to cross that ocean is something you will never regret. If you need to let your grades drop a few percent while you take care of yourself, it’s worth it. If you realize you need to drop a class because it’s draining you and piling on top of everything else, do it! I know it’s hard to take that withdraw on the transcript, but luckily, your mental health is worth so much more than a couple of letters.

Make sure you stay mindful of what others might be going through this time of year. We are all stretched thin, but you might not ever understand the extent of this stretch on others unless you listen and do your best to be compassionate. It isn’t a competition; we are all just trying to keep our heads above water. Make some time this month to spread some love, and it might just come back around to you. And if you’re going through something hard this semester, my heart goes out to you. You are strong and brave for working through it, but you will be just as strong and brave if you lean on those who love you. Good luck, everyone, stay healthy, positive, and take care of yourselves. We’re almost in the homestretch now!

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