Should College Students Become Pet Owners?

Should College Students Become Pet Owners?

A growing number of college students have begun adopting pets, but what is the true cost of that doggy in the window?
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We all know more than one college pet owner. From everyday pets like dogs or cats, to obscure animals like geckos and certain fish, college students are among the growing population of pet owners due to loneliness, camaraderie, and even to attract attention from females.

But just at what cost really is that doggy in the window?

Dog and other pet owners require countless hours of attention, something that many college students cannot provide. According to USA Today, the average college student studies anywhere from 17 to 45 hours per week. In addition, College Parents of America say that college students who use alcohol, tend to do so about 9 to 10 hours per week.

However, pets require many hours of attention themselves, far beyond the simple task of a lifetime of loving them. Pets require regular schedules to be taken outside and/or cleaned, fed, their bathroom duties removed from yards, bowls, litter boxes, etc., and do not come cheap. Most houses or apartments that college students live in have strict rules about pets, either charging a hefty fee to raise a pet or ban them all together. They also come with fees of shots, medications, illnesses, teeth cleaning, food, obedience classes, etc. According to Fox, raising a puppy can cost anywhere from $4,620 and $32,990 over its lifetime.

So, are college students really fit to be raising these pets?

I personally have heard of friends saying they watched a pet be abused when someone was inebriated while others completely gave up caring for their pet all together— allowing him/her to drink from the leftover cups of alcohol on the ground, or not cleaning their litter box for over three months. Now, I don't want to get all Sarah McLaughlin on you, but this is appalling.

Pets should be loved and cared for at all times. Students need to come to the realization that adopting or buying a pet in college requires intense amounts of time and money. This cannot be done if you spend every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at Brick Street, or while cramming for exams while your precious puppy feels unloved and neglected peeing in the corner because it has not been taken outside. In addition, the college student stigma of being broke is not used lightly. There are some exceptions to the standard, however, but most college students are on tight budgets due to the high expenses of attending a university.

It is important to address the growing number of college students who are adopting and raising pets, as well as the treatment of those pets. College students need to be aware that with raising a pet, comes a complete lifestyle change. You will have to put studies in the back seat from time to time, and stay in on a 90s night while your friends are out. Can you do this? If not, pet lovers, do not fret. You can spend time volunteering at a local animal shelter or getting involved with fostering a dog for a week or two, just recognize what is best for the both of you— you, and that furry, scaly, or whiskered best friend of yours.



Cover Image Credit: http://images.collegexpress.com/cnc/insidecollege/list/list_1665.jpg

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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Mother Nature Needs Us, Grow A Pair And Help Her

In only 11 years our carbon pollution needs to be cut in half... and we aren't doing our part.

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The Earth is dying.

Did that catch your attention? I would sincerely hope it would, but I'm afraid it's a message that too many of us have become desensitized to. How many times have you scrolled through your Twitter or Facebook feed only to barely skim your eyes over the post after post of messages similar to this one? Exactly.

It's pretty easy to like a few motivational pictures on Instagram about saving the ocean, to retweet a thread showing you images of wildlife we've harmed with our careless waste, or to share that video of Bill Nye setting a globe on fire and yelling at us to get a clue. What's meaningful and useful, however, is actually putting forth the effort to make a change. Actions speak louder than words; so far it seems that we're just all talk and no walk.

You might believe that you can't make a difference, that you making any contribution at all will not help in the grand scheme of things. That's such a sad and pessimistic way to think. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, is a step in the right direction. It's not even just your actions that will help, but you will also be setting an example for others. Your decision to make smarter, more environmentally friendly choices can and will inspire others to follow your lead.

There are a number of small and incredibly simple ways you can become more sustainable and help the planet. Here are a few examples, just so you can get the idea: stop using plastic straws and utensils, use reusable containers/water bottles/travel cups, stop drinking cow milk, try to eat at least one vegan meal a day, recycle, use bamboo toothbrushes, and try using bar soap or bar shampoo in the shower. These may all seem like silly or even pointless changes to some people, but they really do add up. Especially when these small changes turn into a lifestyle.

Want to know something bigger we can do than just recycling and avoiding using single-use plastics? Here are a few examples of policy ideas that governments can start enacting to make a difference: putting restrictions on air conditioners with high global warming potential or requiring a limit/reduction of HFCs, transition to electric only transportation, creating more walkable communities so it is easier to live without cars, create policies that restrict food waste (such as bans on throwing it in landfills or fees if you do), and establish a carbon tax.

There is a multitude of choices that we have to pick from. Big or small, we can make a change to help our planet before it's too late. Start making changes in your own lives, encourage others to do the same, and start getting on legislators to make and push policies that matter.

Mother Nature needs us. We're all that she has and we've let her down for far too long.

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