I am a student. I am stressed. Dogs are known to reduce stress. Solution: getting a dog. Makes perfect sense, right? That is why a little Golden Retriever puppy moved in last week on Monday morning. The decision was not made that fast of course. Extensive lists of advantages and disadvantages led to this little bundle of fur laying in the middle of the living room right now.
According to the pros on my list, the dog will reduce my stress by helping me to be more active. Also, I will be forced to take short breaks from sitting and studying hours on end. Very helpful in regards to writing my thesis over the next couple of months. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, I did not consider the combination of deadlines, exams and presentations combined with puppy poops and walks. Well, puppy walks are only 10 minutes. If you extract the 15 minutes of sitting down, a bike passing by, smelling the bush, oh another bike passing by and, of course, picking me ups.
I have to admit all this sounds pretty negative now. But I have made it through the first week with the puppy by now. Also, I have managed to hand in all assignments and passed my exam. Additionally, I indeed had to take breaks for talking walks. Got some fresh air which then helped me to study further afterwards. I got puppy cuddles and enjoyed pulling on the rope together. With the occasional unintentional bites into my fingers. I had a very excited puppy licking my hand when I woke up with him at 3 am. And at 5 am.
It showed me that occupying my mind with something else than scientific literature is very important to stay sane during stressful periods. It is so easy for me to become completely consumed by the stress. Walking towards an exam room, I am usually spotting students still quickly scanning their notes. I witness tired students buying combinations of sugary drinks, cookies and deep-frozen pizzas. I guess I am not the only one who could use a little distraction from studying sometimes. However, most students do not have pets of course. Fortunately, little Oskar was able to also put a smile on the faces of all stressed students passing us on campus last week.