Dealing with Unexpected Loss in College

As students, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of college. Between studying for classes, joining extracurricular activities and trying to maintain a social life, college can be more than hectic. Some may say that college is the best four years of your life, but it’s also a time that comes with a lot of change, and even heartache.

Getting older means encountering difficult times and losing people you never imagined you would have to say goodbye to. We are at an age when bad things can happen and lives are lost prematurely.

Penn State students have had to deal with plenty of adversity. This year alone, Penn State students have died from car accidents, drug overdoses, suicide and various freak accidents. Anytime a student’s life was lost, the community has come together to help each other mourn for the fallen. Recently, Penn State observed the one-year anniversary of fallen student, Tally Sepot. She was a daughter, a sister and a friend to many, whose life was ended way too early in a car accident last September. Penn States students, friends and families of those who lost their lives will always feel the anguish when remembering the ones who left this world too soon.

It’s inconceivable and saddening to think that people your age have passed away. It’s unfair, cruel and there is little explanation as to why life has to be this way. How do you cope with something so unexpected? Tragedy is so unforeseen, but when it occurs it makes us take a step back and realize that our daily stresses are minuscule in comparison to the passing of loved ones.

Misfortune is inevitable and happens everyday, but we never actually think it will happen to someone in our lives. It sometimes takes a tragedy for us to take a step back from daily distractions and realize that life is greater than us. A sudden loss will affect you for the rest of your life, and it helps us put life into perspective and shows us how important it is to appreciate our family and our friends — aspects of life that are going to matter in the long run.

Loss does not always have to be a result of death. As you start to mold into a new person, those around you do, too. Making new friends is part of the college experience, but it’s sad that losing them is apart of that. People we once considered friends turn into strangers and it’s neither of your faults. Change is a natural part of life that can be difficult to come to terms with.

As different as we can be from old friends, new friends and even strangers — losing someone is a phenomenon that we all have to come to terms with. Coming together is an important part of healing. It is important to talk with one another and seek help, because no one should have to cope with losing someone alone. As humans, we have these shared experiences that don’t come often, but when they do they can be powerful.


For more information on talking with a professional, please visit CAPS (Counseling & Physiological Service).