So you're back at school after a winter break in which—if you're like me, you spent most of your time with your family dog. But now you come back from classes to an empty, cold room. There's no furry friend to greet you and make you feel important. Even a REALLY good roommate can't equate to a pet. But getting a dog, cat, fish, or rodent in college is NOT the answer! They take a lot of time to care for, they are not only there for you when necessary, you have to be there for them. Not to mention the amount of money it takes to feed them, groom them, and deal with health issues. It's a big deal, not just a quirky impulse decision. I want to give you a few options that can help curb your need for a pet while in school.
1. Care for a plant.
I know not everyone has a green thumb—I know I don’t, but caring for a plant gives you a sense of nurture. It’s even scientifically proven that keeping living plants in your house will improve your mood! The easiest indoor plant to have is aloe because it doesn’t take much watering at all, and it gives back as the gel insides can be used for many things like skincare, hair care, etc.
2. Invest in a Himalayan Salt Lamp.
These pink rocks give off a warm glow that can greatly enhance the ambiance of your room and make you feel more calm hanging out in there. It beats out a harsh fluorescent ceiling light easily, but also has great benefits! It can help purify the air, increase blood flow, improve your mood, improve sleep, increase energy and more. They are even less than $20 on Amazon and at Walmart! There really is no reason not to buy one of these affordable lamps.
3. Curl up with a weighted blanket.
I sadly do not own one of these yet, but it's on my wishlist! Weighted blankets are known to reduce anxiety by putting a comforting pressure on your body. The same way that a dog or cat lying against you might! It's a little more pricey, but once you have one, it should last until you decide it needs a replacement.
4. Start an at home hobby!
Find something to do in your room that you are excited to come home and accomplish. It could mean buying yourself a paint set, some colored pencils and a coloring book, taking up knitting, finding a new TV show to watch, a new recipe to cook, the list goes on! This will give you a comforting feeling when you're lonely as you can busy yourself with useful activities.
5. Download the Rover App.
If you really can't go without being near an animal for another whole semester, get a pet sitting app (like Rover) where you can make money by taking care of people's animals part time!
If all of this fails, then MAYBE consider getting an animal to take care of. Just remember, the animal's well-being depends on you much more than yours depends on it. Also if you're an already broke college student, make a budget before hand to assure you know what your getting yourself into.