If you’re considering bringing a pet to college, you might want to try a goldfish––anything bigger or furrier might turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth. I myself have considered buying a puppy for school, but after a little research and some brief experience in the matter, I came up with quite a few reasons to hold off.
A friend of my roommate had a bunny (named after Hugh Hefner) that she asked us to watch overnight this past year. We thought it would be fun to have company, so we took little Hughie for the night. The poor rabbit didn’t sleep at all. Instead, he made a mess of his cage and thumped nervously on the floor all night, keeping everyone up. Clearly, the little guy didn’t want to be there.
The most important lesson I learned from the furry Mr. Hefner is this: college life is not for a pet. It is simply too busy and too loud for most animals, with the exception of frat boys. You’ll be playing music, doing work, having people in your room, or attending class most of the day. Meanwhile, your pet will be sitting in its crate craving attention that you won’t have time to give. Want to go out of town to visit a friend for the weekend? Good luck finding someone to watch your puppy.
The second problem is going to be money. The “poor college student” is a common stereotype for a reason. Even if your furry new friend is affordable upfront, there are many other expenses associated with raising it: food, vaccinations, accessories and housing, just to name a few. In addition, you might want to take into account all the things that your animal will invariably ruin and that you’ll need to replace.
That brings me to my next point: young animals are destructive, even the sweetest ones. They’re going to chew on your shoes, have accidents on the floor, tear up your furniture and yes, maybe even eat your homework. We’ve lied about it many times in elementary school, but when it actually happens in college, professors won’t care. Room damage and homework destruction are distractions you can’t afford, especially if you live in a dorm or small apartment. And if that’s the case, your roommate will want to kill you anyway.
You do not want to be stuck in the unfortunately common situation of buying a pet and later realizing you can’t care for it properly. So for yours, your roommate’s and your dorm room’s sakes, think twice before getting a pet in college.
In all of my six years in college (be nice I am working on my third degree) I have never lived in a dorm. I never saw the appeal of living in the dorms. I just saw them as small, generally smelly spaces that hundreds of people have slept in prior to me arriving. So I always chose to live off campus.
Sure there were some drawbacks including parking passes and paying rent, but there were also a lot of perks. I have my own space, my own room, and my own bathroom. I had a roommate in my first apartment, but at least I got to choose who they were. I believe that the biggest perk of living off campus was that it taught me how to be responsibile. I had to work to pay my rent and bills, so I quickly learned how to multi-task. This also taught me about the art of money management and budgeting. Trust me, living in Florida and having your electric shut off in the middle of summer will really teach you to pay your bills on time! Here are some of the reasons that I think it is better to live off-campus while in college:
Reason #1 – You are in charge of every aspect of your living situation. If you want to leave dishes in the sink and come home drunk at 3am you can.
Reason #2 – It teaches you economic responsibility. You are in charge of paying rent, bills and all the other expenses.
Reason #3 – You get to have pets (If your landlord allows it).
Reason #4 – If you need to, or choose to, have roommates you are the one selecting them not a college admission counselor.
Reason #5 – You get your own kitchen and bathroom.
Reason #6 – If you have odd living tendencies (like needing to mop your floors three times a day) then you are free to do it without judgment in your own space.
Reason #7 – You are always accountable, again teaching you even more responsibility. It is your job to get up and head to class, there is not a friend down the hall who will bang on your door to make sure you are awake.
Reason #8 – FREEDOM! There is no RA overseeing your behavior and there is no need to sign in or out.
Reason #9 – You learn the reality of how much things cost. Buying dishes, towels, curtains, etc. gets SUPER expensive quickly and it is better to learn that lesson sooner than later.
Reason #10 – You get to have a car that you don’t have to walk a mile to get to.
Can you think of any other benefits of living off campus? Sound off in the comments below!
I’m reading Human Resource Management