Counsel for Law Students Grieving During the COVID-19 Crisis

The following blog post was written by Sydney Coelho, Regent J.D. Class of 2022:

A recent article by the Harvard Business Review reminds us that it’s common for people at times to feel stressed or anxious. It may even be just as common to grieve.

As Psalm 34:18 reminds us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (NIV). So what would grief look like right now for students during this COVID-19 crisis? Grief comes in five stages, which may or may not come in order. Those stages and ways to recognize them are:
  1. Denial – Everything is normal. I can still go to the office. My internship didn’t fall through. The bar exam is still on.
  2. Anger – You’re taking away my rights. You’re kicking me out of the dorm I paid for. You’re moving classes online and I have to wake up at 4:00 a.m. You cancelled the bar exam. I lost my job.
  3. Bargaining: After two weeks it will all go back to normal, right? If I take a pay cut, they may not fire me, right? If I graduate with a law degree, I can still work without taking the bar, right?
  4. Depression/Sadness: This will never end. I will never get a job. I will be behind my peers because I lost my internship. My hard work doesn’t matter because exams are all open book.
  5. Acceptance. It’s real. It’s happening. What steps do I need to take? I should file for unemployment. I may not have a job until early next year. I should try to get an internship during the school year to make up for the summer.
In the event you or someone you know may be struggling right now, remember:
  1. Grief is a natural part of life. We all grieve at various points for various reasons.
  2. There is no wrong or right way to grieve. As the Lord makes each of us different, so too did He make our processes different.
  3. There is no set time to grieve. Grief affects each of us in different ways. Just because it may appear easy for some does not mean it’s easy for everyone.
  4. Don’t assume that someone isn’t grieving just because the person doesn’t show it or talk about it. Some people are better than others at hiding their emotions.
  5. Know that grief is a rollercoaster ride. Some days you will feel better than others.
So what can you do to cope with grief?
  1. Enjoy time with friends and family via apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype.
  2. Exercise to get endorphins pumping and get out of your head.
  3. Enjoy your hobbies, or discover a new one.
  4. Finally, look for adventure in the smallest places. For example, try a new recipe or challenge yourself to put down electronics for 24 hours.
If you’re still having trouble with grief, please don’t be afraid to talk to someone. There are friends, family, Regent’s Counseling Services and Psychological Services Center, and even a national helpline. Until the restrictions are removed, be sure to stay healthy, stay active, and stay safe.

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