Skip to main content
Skip sub navigation

Grief and loss


Grief is a natural, powerful and human response to the loss of someone or something close to us. It takes time to adjust or grow around grief and during this time you will need to care for yourself, while managing everyday life.

What is grief?

There are many experiences in life that may cause you grief. For example:

  • the death of a family member, friend or pet;
  • the death of a colleague or peer;
  • a relationship break-up, separation, or divorce;
  • leaving your country, family or friends to live in another country or location;
  • moving away from home;
  • intermitting or withdrawing from your study;
  • leaving Australia and returning home; or
  • failing a subject.

Grief can cause feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, regret, and relief, amongst others. You may be confused, and your thoughts may be disorganised as you adjust to the change and loss. Studying at this time can be very difficult.

The process of grieving is a very individual experience. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and in fact there are different styles of grieving.

When you are grieving it can be helpful to talk about how you feel and what you think with someone you trust. Talking may help you deal with the loss, help with feelings of isolation, and has the potential for others to show they care and support you. If you do not have family or friends around to talk to, or don't want to talk to them about your loss, talking to a counsellor can be really useful.

Grief and your study

If you are experiencing grief, your ability to study can be affected. This is where applying for extensions to give you the extra time needed to complete your work is a valid option to consider. Get to your classes as much as possible to ensure you don’t miss anything new. Have readings close by so that you can study when you feel able to.

If you speak with one of Deakin's counsellors, they are able to support your applications for extensions. If you consider that your study has been affected, you are eligible to seek special consideration.

What to do

  • Immediately after your loss, allow yourself to grieve and be involved in any ceremonies.
  • Be aware that grief will come and go. Grief is a normal human response to loss.
  • Contact your lecturers by email explaining any absence and requesting details about what you've missed.
  • Try to study a little, often.
  • Talk to someone about your loss.
  • Take care of your physical, social, and emotional wellbeing.
  • Keep grieving and keep going as much as you can. Pace yourself.

Getting support

If you’d like support, you can make an appointment to speak with a counsellor at Deakin's Counselling service.

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provide support and resources for people experiencing grief and loss.

More help and advice

ReachOut has tips and tools for learning about and coping with grief and loss.

Last updated:
Page custodian: Student Services