When a parent dies while the child is still in college

A little distracting (kbrookes via Flickr)

I lost my father to cancer when I was a sophomore in college.

I lost my mother to cancer when I was in grad school in 2009.

It was crushing, but both times certain faculty members helped me get through my courses.

So memories flooded me when I read this piece by Matt Gleeson in The Advocate, the newspaper of Minnesota State University - Moorhead:

It’s a strange thing going through a semester when someone close to you is dying. On the advice of my academic advisor, I informed my professors in the spring of the situation – lung cancer, already tried chemo, just a matter of time left.

Although the level of support I received varied from class to class ...  I can honestly say that I felt the university had my back during the ordeal.

To clarify, I didn’t get any free passes. My GPA last semester was the lowest it’s ever been since starting at MSUM.

I was, however, given the opportunity to succeed despite a situation that made it extremely difficult to make it to class on a regular basis. One presentation ended up becoming a YouTube video.  Some classmates altered their schedules to better fit mine for group projects.  I made sacrifices as well, turning in papers early when it was clear I’d have other matters to attend to during the time of the deadlines.

Hey, Moorhead: Well done.

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