Being in college, there are a lot of milestones you and your peers are going through. You're probably moving away from home for the first time, maybe even getting your own house or apartment. Being on your own can be lonely, even if you do have roommates, and no one likes to feel lonely. So what better to fill that void than getting a pet?

Pets are great; they give companionship and love you unconditionally. Some people get pets in college and everything works out perfectly fine. However, I've seen an increasing number of people getting pets and either improperly caring for them or posting on Facebook a few months later saying they can no longer care for the pet or they can't afford to keep them.

I understand that sometimes keeping pets can be more expensive than it seems and that pets can get sick or have unforeseen expenses, but when it comes to a living being, we have to be more responsible. Having a pet is not cheap. Even a goldfish requires more time and money than you would imagine. Cats and dogs need regular vet visits, food, toys, grooming, and tons of time and attention, which can really add up over time. And when you're in college, you don't exactly have a ton of free time or money.

Some of the most poorly treated pets are fish, and most people don't even know that they are mistreating them. Fish are very common pets for college students because a lot of common pet fish cost under $15 and most schools let you keep them in your dorm. Even I got a betta fish my junior year. However, most people think that you can just throw fish in a bowl and they'll be perfectly happy. That's how I kept my fish for the first couple of months that I had him. After doing some research I found out that fish take a lot more care and equipment than I thought. Most species of fish need at least a five-gallon tank to be happy and healthy, so that tiny fishbowl isn't going to cut it. On top of that, they need a water filter, a heater, lights, stimulants such as plants or hiding spots, a good substrate, and so much more. Sure, a fish can survive in a tiny bowl, but it's never going to be fully happy or healthy. Imagine if someone kept you in a tiny room for your entire life, you wouldn't exactly be thriving in that environment, would you?

When you choose to take on a pet, you are responsible for another living being. Some people may say, "Oh it's just an animal, who cares?" You should! Your pet may be one small part of your life, but to them, you are their entire world! It's your responsibility to care for them because they rely on you for everything. So if you don't think you are ready to care for another life, then please do not get a pet. Do your research because, from the tiniest of fish to the biggest of dogs, every animal deserves a happy life.