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Four-Legged Study Break

Kyra Garabedian, Anchor Contributor

As the first four weeks of the Fall semester come to a close, going to class is finally starting to feel like a routine. You’ve finally got used to your new schedule and then you realize midterms are in less than a month. If there is one thing that can throw off your new routine and make you even more stressed out, it is having to study for your exams on top of your regular classwork. 
If you’re like me, you have probably been in a situation where you had to cram exam prep into a long and intense study session. We don’t like to admit it to ourselves, but sometimes it just happens. Often times I am so engaged in studying that I forget that my brain needs to take breaks every once in awhile. 
One of my favorite things to do when I feel like I need a break is to pet my dogs. I need that little burst of happiness and stress relieving energy my dogs provide just by interacting with them. Even five minutes of simply sitting next to them helps refresh my mind and get me ready to go back to studying. But, for those of us who dorm or who spend most of their study time on campus this happiness animals provide is hard to come by because unfortunately, my dogs can’t come to campus with me. 
Many colleges and universities provide students with stress relieving activities during exam weeks. Jill Castellano, a Forbes Magazine staff member, writes about the anxiety reducing activities Caldwell University hosted for students during their final exam week last year. According to Castellano, the most popular program was a pet therapy program that provided students with trained dogs for students to interact with. Students who participated in this program found that the dogs provided them with much needed relief during a stressful exam week and cost the university nothing. 
Pet therapy has been proven to reduce stress in humans by increasing the amount of oxytocin, the anxiety reducing hormone in your brain and with the growing workload college students have to handle   we seem like the perfect candidates. 
Although I can’t bring my dogs to campus, I would enjoy taking my study break with some other furry friends. Plus, my friends who live on campus or don’t have dogs can enjoy their company without going home. What could be better than walking away from your notes for a bit into a room full of trained therapy dogs to take your mind off your exam? That way, you go back to studying full of oxytocin and in a better mindset to master your notes and ace your exam. I think allowing pet therapy programs during more exam weeks should be considered by Rhode Island College as it would surely benefit students and campus life.