By Jenna Press
Everybody knows college can be stressful at times.
Having a pet is great for stress relief. A pet will always be there for you to cuddle or play with, and they’re a great way to take your mind off of things and relax. Unfortunately, dogs and cats almost always require pet fees, but smaller animals often do not, and they have almost as many benefits. In fact, small pets can be ideal for students who don’t have the time to take care of a bigger pet but still want an animal in their life. Big or little, pets are a great way to relieve some of the stress of college life.
Having a pet in college also encourages responsibility. A pet will help prepare you for the real world in a way that college can’t. Any pet you have as a student will probably be the first animal that depends on you completely, not you and your family. They require daily care and attention, and having to provide for them ensures that you develop a more mature state of mind. You also must have a certain amount of financial responsibility, and budget for their food and other needs.
Having a pet means having constant company. No matter how bad your day was or how busy you are, a pet will always be there to comfort you or listen to you when you need it most. They can brighten your day just by being there, and you’ll never have to come home to an empty room. They’re the best kind of roommate- steady and unobtrusive, but also loving and entertaining.
Any pet you have in college will most likely go with you when you graduate, and having a friend that will be by your side during that transitional time – even if it’s just your pet – is a valuable thing. Going out into the real world can be scary. A pet will be a constant in your life, moving with you into new chapters and ensuring that you’re never really alone, no matter how far your job or graduate school takes you.
Living in the dorms means you can’t have a dog or a cat, but if you’re desperate for a pet, you can have a fish. Although you can’t hug a fish, it can still provide stress relief and a sense of companionship.
If you can’t have a pet at all, there are other options to get some animal therapy. Volunteering at an animal shelter like Fuzzy Friends is a great way to spend some time with dogs and cats. It relieves stress, it’s community service and it’s fun for the animals, too. Occasionally, dogs and cats even come to campus with the group Active Minds. Those puppy play days are an awesome opportunity to be around animals, especially for students who don’t have a car.
There are downsides. Pet fees can be expensive, and for out-of-state students, who would probably benefit most from a pet, figuring out boarding or transportation can be complicated. However, the benefits of having a pet in college outweigh the disadvantages, and I encourage everyone who can to think seriously about adopting a new friend.
Jenna Press is a junior journalism and professional writing double major from Ramstein, Germany. She is a copy editor and regular columnist for the Lariat.