Many colleges across the country have just held finals week. It’s a week of exams that culminate everything students have learned throughout the semester, and it’s often very stressing. I personally have just experienced the all-night studying, endless coffee and no sleep that define finals week.
What can keep the anxiety down, even if just a little, during such a stressing time? Our furry four-legged friends of course.
According to the OC Register, Chapman University gave its students the chance to pet dogs on campus during finals week. About 300 students came to the second annual “Furry Friends for Finals” event, which was organized by a campus club called Active Minds.
The two-hour event promoted mental-health awareness by letting students spend a few minutes with the dog of their choice. The eight pups on hand included a Labrador, a French Bulldog and Shetland Sheepdog. After students signed waivers and waited in a short line, they got their chance to be stress-free for a few minutes while interacting with the dogs.
Megan Kauffman, a therapist with the university’s Student Psychological Counseling Services, said, “Animals help relieve anxiety. It’s really therapeutic to pet a dog and relax, especially during finals.”
Freshman Alexa Reyes, who participated in the event, said the opportunity to pet a dog was a reminder of her two dogs at home in Florida.
“It’s finals week, and everyone is stressed,” Reyes said. “Everyone is missing their dogs from home.”
The pups were brought to the campus by Beach Animals Reading with Kids (BARK), a non-profit program based in Long Beach, Calif. The program encourages children to increase their reading skills and self-confidence by reading aloud to therapy dogs. Speaking from personal experience of being around my boyfriend’s BARK program pup Amiko, I’d say the dogs are a definite stress reliever.
During times such as finals, nothing is more relaxing than having a big ball of fur jump on you and wag its tail. Even taking a small break to go on a walk with your dog during finals week can provide some much needed relief. Those of us who are lucky enough to commute to our universities or attend dog-friendly colleges should definitely take the time to do so.