What Is Trauma?

Trauma is the experience of severe psychological distress following any terrible or life-threatening event. Students who suffer with trauma may develop emotional disturbances such as extreme anxiety, anger, sadness, survivor’s guilt, or PTSD. They may also experience problems with classwork, sleep or physical pain, encounter turbulence in their personal and professional relationships, and feel a diminished sense of self-worth due to the overwhelming amount of stress.

Although the traumatic event may overpower coping mechanisms available at the time, it is nevertheless possible to develop healthy ways of managing with the experience and diminishing the effects of trauma. Research on trauma identifies several healthy ways of coping, such as avoiding alcohol and drugs, seeing loved ones regularly, exercising, sleeping, and paying attention to self-care.

How to Cope with Trauma

  • Avoid alcohol and drugs,
  • Seeing loved ones regularly
  • Get enough rest or sleep,
  • Pay attention to toxic, self-defeating thoughts
  • Talk about the trauma with fellow students, friends, family, classmates, and professors
  • Take care of yourself, foster self-love
  • Walk run or exercise
  • Rediscover or develop new routines