Midterms are upon us and we’re all running like chickens sans heads to find study space in the library. There seems to be an endless flow of coffee entering our bodies and caffeine pulsating through our veins while we attempt to write papers, study for exams and finish projects. Life is constantly moving at 100 mph and we can’t seem to find time to take care of ourselves.

But you know what we could totally find time for? Puppies.

Marist College should look into bringing puppies for students to play with during midterms and finals weeks. Other universities provide this service to students so that they can slow down for as little as ten minutes and relax themselves using the therapeutic power of puppies.

Dogs are man’s (and woman’s) best friend: they provide a sense of safety and comfort. Hospitals frequently harness puppy superpowers to help patients find comfort in stressful and scary times. Dogs are proven to release stress and anxiety, which is why colleges have been creating “puppy rooms,’ where students can play with puppies if they find themselves stressed out, anxious or even coping with depression.

Mental health could not be a more prevalent problem on college campuses, especially during midterm and finals weeks. I overhear conversation after conversation about students being too stressed out to eat or sleep because they have papers to write and study guides to make. No exam is more important than a student’s physical and mental well-being. Making a puppy room available for students for a few afternoons during exam weeks could show a vast improvement in student wellness.

According to a Huffington Post article about a puppy program, playing with a puppy can “reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of loneliness, and that achieving these health benefits can make it easier for students to enjoy the university experience.”

From where I see it, the pros outweigh the cons. A “puppy room” on campus would alleviate student stress, provide a safe environment for students silently combatting anxiety and depression, and would help students achieve optimal college-life happiness.Beyond supporting good mental health, a puppy program could give the counseling center the kind of visibility it deserves. Counseling services in our wellness center provides students with valuable information on stress management, meditation and self care.

The only con I can come up with is the puppies distracting students from their studies, but, hey, isn’t that the point? I’m sure finances and safety also come into play for Student Activities, Student Government or whoever would initiate this program, but I’m sure students would be willing to pay for puppy time and I’m also certain that students who are allergic to dogs or cannot be around pets for other reasons will refrain from attending. So really, what is there to lose?

I believe a program like this could not only bring so much joy to overwhelmed students, but also make way for more mental health initiatives on Marist’s campus. Hopefully, one day students can combat the stress of midterms and finals weeks with the comfort of a furry friend.

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