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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students cope with tragedies

With the tragedies in the last two weeks, there is an air of gloom on campus. Unforeseen tragedies such as the accident at Northgate and the double homicide that followed are traumatic to handle. In tough situations such as these, the Student Counseling Services (SCS) provides its services to help the students.
“Everyone experiences loss differently so it is OK if your feelings and reactions are different from those of others,” said Betty Milburn, SCS associate director. “Some will experience a time of numbness and/or denial. This is natural. Some may experience difficulty functioning or inability to concentrate.”
The counseling services have different ways to counsel grieving students who are dealing with the traumatic loss of friends.
“When I work with students in this situation, I often talk about the grief process and what can be expected – kind of giving a framework to address individual grief,” said Maggie Gartner, SCS director. “We also often talk about the person who has died and I will hear stories of what he or she was like.”
Milburn said students often feel unfairly targeted when faced with a personal loss.
“Often we want explanations for the tragedies that occur in our lives, but such events rarely make sense,” Milburn said. “At times like this, it is important to rely on your faith or your belief system about how life works. Certainly, such events increase awareness of how fragile life is and often serve to help us better appreciate those important to us.”
However tough it may be, it is essential that the grieving person take care of themselves by relying on various support lines.
“Reach out to others for support. Allow yourself to cry, to talk about your friends and your memories of them,” Milburn said. “Remember that the very intense feelings of loss will diminish with time, but the amount of time that it takes varies from person to person and is impacted by the nature of the relationship.”
Gartner said grieving students should try to get back into a routine.
“I also encourage those who are experiencing grief to take time for themselves – to eat properly, exercise, sleep and be around friends and family who can provide support,” she said.
Additionally, it is important for a student to seek professional help during such times. James Deegear, a psychologist at SCS, said it is a common misconception that friends and family can provide counseling.
“A professional counselor can often help people see a more objective reality of a situation, which can lead to identifying previously unconsidered solutions to problems,” Deegear said. “I often hear students say that they want someone to hear their concerns and not be so biased about what choices they make.”
Individual, couple and group counseling are available at counseling services. Biofeedback, anger management, academic skills and career counseling are also accessible at the center.
For emergency situations, the SCS offers a special service available at no extra fee for students currently enrolled at A&M.
“Crisis intervention is available any time we are open,” Gartner said. “We like to see the last person at 4 p.m. so that we have time to adequately address the issues before we close for the day.”
Gartner said she hopes students will use some of these services as the campus moves through a grieving process.
“I am so sorry that we lost three such wonderful friends and dedicated Aggies,” Gartner said. “We’ll never be able to fill the holes that their loss has left in so many lives on campus. Grief does end and that one day, they’ll be able to think of the person who is gone and it will not hurt so much. ”
LocationSCS are located in Cain Hall, Room B-103. Students may also call the Help Line at (979)845-2700.

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