Weekly Devotional: Coping With Grief in College

Young woman sitting alone in a sad state of mind.

Grief is the complicated process of coping with a loss. Grief doesn’t look the same for every person who experiences it but there are many common experiences and symptoms of grief that are shared. One main symptom of grief is deep sadness, which as a busy college student, can be hard to take the time to feel that sadness or process through your grief.

In This Devotional:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance - Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NIV

What Does Grief Look Like?

Grief is our emotional and physiological response to adjusting to life after the loss, typically of a very emotionally significant place, relationship, or person very close to us. Like every change that humans experience, God created this response to serve a purpose. Change is hard for us to accept, especially when that change is so painful. While we can’t live a life on Earth without pain and loss, we can trust that God’s plans will provide us with purpose and peace beyond our loss.

I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. - Psalm 6:6-7 NIV

Grief can look like a lot of things. The typical roadmap that you might think of when you think about the grieving process is the Five Stages of Grief Model: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. During your grieving process, you might experience a few or all of these stages. You also may find that they don’t occur in this order or you go back and forth between different feelings.

Keep in mind it can be very difficult to define grief. You may notice you are experiencing grief because your behaviors change or your moods don’t seem to align with what is going on around you. Grief is typically a very heavy and sad experience. You might become very emotional or feel very little emotion at all. It may look different for you based on how you respond to loss or what stage of grief you are in. It is normal to feel overwhelmed by these emotions or feelings while you face grief and it is normal to feel you can’t participate in what is happening around you.

Dealing With Grief in College

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18

Be gentle with yourself. Grief is a process where you are adjusting to a change that significantly impacts your life in a unique and personal way. You aren’t going to be able to predict how your grief can affect you and that’s okay. With anything difficult in life, we need support. God didn’t create us to walk through life’s trials on our own.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. College is not easy. It is not easy to live on your own, or to work towards a degree, or to build new relationships while discovering who you are as an individual. To be coping with a sense of deep sadness over a painful loss in addition to the normal stress of college is not something you were made to carry all on your own. Reach out to those around you. Faculty and campus counselors are also there for you to talk to if you feel you don’t have anyone else you can go to. Tell people how you are feeling and be open to comfort, prayer, guidance or other help they might offer.

Take it one day at a time. You may be facing many difficulties and changes. Each day will have its own challenges. It is okay if tomorrow feels like it is a hundred years away or if yesterday felt easier than today. Know that this feeling is temporary. Have patience and know that it will take time until you start to come to acceptance in your grief and you adjust to your new normal.

Prayer and Encouragement

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. - Matthew 5:4

Your grief is not a burden to those around you. Your grief is not a curse. Your grief is not forever. We have been called to cry with each other and sit next to one another in times of sadness, grief and loss. Lean on those around you who love you and know that the Lord is near you. He can bring comfort and peace out of your grief. God has a greater plan and purpose for you beyond your sadness and He can even use this loss to further a plan that will ultimately bring good.


Dealing with any kind of difficulties in college can feel isolating, lonely and frustrating. Grand Canyon University offers wellness resources for students and can provide professional student care services.

Approved by the local outreach ministry coordinator of the Department of Spiritual Life on September 14, 2023

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.