When my youngest sister Lorna died suddenly, my whole world turned upside down and studying became my escape. I began my degree in Psychology nine months after my sister’s death, and immediately faced the challenges of studying while grieving.
When you are living with loss, the everyday simple things can seem impossible, and studying was no exception. I worked through my first year, studying when motivation hit and resting when grief hit. I searched for a support group, but unfortunately there was not one. So I decided at the beginning of my second year to start the Open University Bereaved Students Club, the one group that no one wants to be in. Yet loss is an inevitable experience that will touch us all at some point in our lives. If that happens to be while you’re studying, then I hope the Bereaved Students Club offers you a safe space where you do not have to face the journey alone.
My sister loved people – she was 19 when she died but her achievements will inspire me for a lifetime. She strived to help create a world where people are valued for who they are, and where no one is left out. She loved education and learning, and The Open University plays an enormous part in making education more accessible. Perhaps had my sister still been here, she too would have begun her own Open University journey, but instead I hope to carry on her legacy and her memory during my time here as a student and, most importantly, as a bereaved sibling.
You can join the Bereaved Students Club here: https://www.oustudents.com/organisation/6509/.