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Family death during pa school

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Hey guys, 

Just wondering, has anyone ever experienced a family death during PA school, especially during didactic year? If so did you have to reach out to program staff, and were they willing to work with you?

I haven’t started PA school yet, the first day of school is 1.5 weeks away. I just found out today that my grandma has two months left to live...

I am very lucky and blessed to have spent time with her and make precious memories with her before school starts. I knew her time would come and have tried to mentally prepare myself for it, but hearing this news still makes me emotional and it doesn’t hurt any less.

On top of fearing when she will pass away, I’m scared of how her death will affect my studies. I’ll only be 1-2 months into PA school and I’m so concerned about how I’ll be able to cope with the grief and study efficiently at the same time. My program is a new program too, and I’m not sure how willing they will be to work with me. Am I expected to just suck it up and keep going? Do schools usually work with students when it comes to family deaths or is this only in the case of immediate family deaths?

I’m just so scared that I’ll be grieving over her death - therefore impacting my academics and eventually leading to me getting kicked out of the program. I know I’m worrying about the worst possible scenario over something that hasn’t even happened yet but I’m wonder if anyone has been in a similar situation and how accommodating their schools have been.

thanks in advance for your help, it’s much appreciated. 

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I won't presume to predict how either you or your program will respond.  The best thing you can do is to let your program know what's going on in your life.  If you have an advisor, start with them.  If not, let the program director know.  While I don't recall any of my classmates having deaths in their close families during school, there were several divorces, break-ups of long term relationships, etc.  People responded in various ways.  Sometimes grades suffered, but it was all temporary.  We didn't lose anyone because of it.

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One of our students had a sudden death in her family when her father was killed instantly in an auto accident. The program worked with her and adjusted exams, etc. Her class pulled together to support her.

In your case, you have some warning. You could choose to delay a year or else be the success your Grandma probably would like you to be. If you work with the program now, I suspect they can cut you some slack when the dark day of her passing comes to be.

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