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Coping with Loss: Emotional Acculturation In First Semester Freshmen

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Reading between the lines of student journal entries in freshman seminars, one feels both amazed and helpless because of the loss and sadness expressed frequently by freshmen at a time when most instructors assume that these students are excited and happy. Although many instructors can identify with feelings of loneliness, fear, and sadness common to freshmen, few seminar training programs mention this phenomenon. Instructors need skills for identifying the frequency, severity, and other aspects of grief emotions in relation to real or perceived loss as expressed by first semester freshmen. This paper reviews psychological studies of grief and applies findings from those studies to suggest ways that instructors can assist first year students in coping successfully with feelings of grief.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1990

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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