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Dawn S. Traynor University of North Carolina at Charlotte HOW UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEVING PROCESS MAKES US BETTER ADVISORS.

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Presentation on theme: "Dawn S. Traynor University of North Carolina at Charlotte HOW UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEVING PROCESS MAKES US BETTER ADVISORS."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dawn S. Traynor University of North Carolina at Charlotte HOW UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEVING PROCESS MAKES US BETTER ADVISORS

2  Introductions  Grief and the Grieving Process  The Advising Connection  Challenges  Our Role  Case Studies  Wrapping it Up OVERVIEW

3  Grief is the natural emotional reaction to loss  Differs from “bereavement,” which is the loss itself  Can be physical or abstract  Physical – Loss of family member or friend  Abstract – Loss of an idea or ideal  Looks different for every person  Because it is an emotional response, grief can change moment to moment  Often referred to as “The Grieving Process” WHAT IS GRIEF?

4  Relationship to the situation  Personality  Personal belief system  Support system  Prior experience with grief  Type of grief  Anticipatory  Unanticipated  Ambiguous FACTORS THAT IMPACT GRIEF

5  On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler- Ross  Five stages of grief  Denial  Anger  Bargaining  Depression  Acceptance  Fair warning: It’s messy! THE GRIEVING PROCESS

6  Grieving an idea or ideal  “The life I had planned for myself”  Changing major or career direction  Voluntary versus involuntary change  Involuntary change in advising: For any number of reasons, (at that time) student is no longer able to progress in their chosen major or career THE ADVISING CONNECTION

7  A student who has been planning to be a doctor since she was a child finds she is unable to earn high enough MCAT scores to get into med school.  A student who had always done well in high school struggles with the academic transition to college, is put on probation at the end of his freshman year, and must choose a new major as he is no longer able to progress in the College of Engineering.  A student returning from academic suspension finds that her GPA is so low she is unable to declare her preferred major. EXAMPLES

8  Student refuses to acknowledge or accept the circumstances  Visits various campus offices, convinced that a different faculty or staff member will give him a different answer  Insists that there was a problem with a grade on his transcript or that his parents are working with the dean to get things worked out  Avoids making a choice regarding a new major or career in spite of looming deadlines DENIAL

9  Student becomes extremely emotional with (often misplaced) frustration and rage  Takes out her frustrations on people unrelated to the situation  Makes unrealistic demands  Uses phrases like “It’s just not fair!” or “Why is this happening to me?”  Appears unwilling to listen to reason ANGER

10  Student attempts to undo or negotiate a way to avoid giving up the life they had planned  Begs for “one more chance” or promises that “it will be different this time”  Reaches out to someone he thinks can change things  Often a professor who he feels may raise a previously- assigned grade  Claims he had extenuating circumstances  At this point most students know their efforts are in vain, but they are not yet ready to let go and move on BARGAINING

11  Student begins to accept the certainty of their situation and “give up”  Seems stagnant or unwilling to consider another option besides the plan she’s being asked to let go  Says she doesn’t care about what happens, since it’s not what she had originally intended  Claims to be considering transferring or taking time off from college  Acknowledges this is really happening  Important to remember your limitations DEPRESSION

12  Student is able to see the value of other options and picture themselves fulfilling a new life plan  Begins exploring other major options  Visits the career center for information on alternative paths to his chosen career  Admits his role in the situation  Important to note: Even though a student may be showing signs of acceptance, they may still be very much grieving the loss of their plans ACCEPTANCE

13  Students who are cut from selective majors in spite of “doing everything right”  Students being forced to make a new major decision when they are only in the early stages of grieving  Can’t push students through the stages  Some students may regress, others may have already processed through them  Students who are unwilling or unable to let themselves process through what is happening CHALLENGES

14  Respect student individuality  Identify where a student falls in the grieving process  “Have you given yourself permission to be disappointed that things didn’t work out the way you were expecting them to?”  Keep the student on track academically  What are their options? Are there courses they can take that will count towards many majors?  Be honest OUR ROLE

15  Help a student move through the stages in their own way and time while keeping the focus on their ultimate goals  Acknowledge the student’s frustration and disappointment  Give them time and space as much as possible  Reframe and refocus  Avoid the blame game  Offer concrete solutions  Develop new goals  Remind them of your support OUR ROLE

16  In your group, determine what stage of the grieving process your student may be in.  Then come up with two or three things you can say and/or do to help the student understand, deal with, and move on through their grief.  Choose a group member who will share with us! CASE STUDIES

17 Dawn S. Traynor Associate Director for Learning Strategies and Instruction University Center for Academic Excellence University of North Carolina at Charlotte QUESTIONS? THOUGHTS?

18  Bryant, C., & Clark, J. (2013, April 1). How grief works. Stuff You Should Know Podcast. Podcast retrieved from  Capuzi Simon, C. (2012, November 4). Major decisions. The New York Times. P. ED13.  Hoyt, Alia. (2008, July 18). How grief works. Retrieved from  Kubler-Ross, E. (1969). On death and dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy, and their own families. Scribner: New York.  Reynolds, M. M. (2004). Now what? Some thoughts on advising students in selective majors from a faculty member with no training as a counselor. Retrieved from ectiveMajors.htm ectiveMajors.htm RESOURCES


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