Students explain how they deal with grief

Grief is a process with which many students struggle. While some slip through the cracks and fall into depression, others use everyday activities to put themselves in a better state of mind. 

Georgia State junior Abdoulaye Barry dealt with grief firsthand a year after he graduated high school. Barry lost his high school French teacher and close friend to suicide.

“One of my native languages is French, so when I started taking her class, we instantly got close,” Barry said. “She actually was the first person I got close to in high school.” 

When he discovered she had taken her own life, Barry instantly went into a state of deep depression. 

Barry placed blame surrounding her death on himself. He thought that if he had offered more support to his friend, she would not have taken her life. 

“After I graduated, I still kept in touch with her,” Barry said. “She never showed any signs of being suicidal.” 

To cope with her death, Barry aimed to improve his social life by going out more and spending more time with friends. He thinks fondly of nights on the town and trips to the beach or mountains. 

“Her death taught me that life is a valuable thing, and in order to truly live it, you have to enjoy every moment of it,” Barry said. 

Other students are affected by grief in different ways.           

Sophomore Brian Murden lost his job due to COVID-19 and is finding new ways to occupy his time to avoid falling into depression. 

Although losing a job is not the same as losing a loved one, it still majorly impacted Murden’s life.

 Murden became overwhelmed with extreme sadness and concern when he was laid off. He left a job he loved and at which he worked for almost two years. He experienced financial uncertainty because it was his only source of income, and he did not know how to provide for his family. 

“I know I have the responsibility of paying bills to help my family,” he said. “So, when I got laid off, the only thought that I could think about was, how was I going to pay my bills now?”    

The boredom of not working triggered his depression, but he is trying to keep his spirits high. 

“Once I lost my job, I allowed myself to be sad for a couple of days to process everything, but I quickly picked myself back up,” he said. “Although losing my job has impacted my life in a big way, I am not going to let something so small lead me into depression.”

Murden is trying different methods to cope with the change. He uses everyday activities such as exercising and watching movies to help but finds the most comfort in listening to music, his main outlet. 

“I have always loved music since I was five, but it never had any true meaning to me,” he said. “Music now gives me a calm mind and a peaceful soul.”  

He listens to his favorite song, “Go Harder” by Future, for inspiration.

“When I hear that song, it makes me want to push harder,” he said. “I forget about that sadness and focus more on bettering myself.” 

Grief takes time to get over. While some struggle to find closure, others manage to pick up the pieces.