Going to college can cause a lot of anxiety for some students. But a some students are discovering that living with a pet in their apartments in West Columbia, SC can relieve stress or depression.
“Even if I do have to leave or I have a long day of work or exams or labs. Just coming back into the room and having someone so excited to see you, she just goes berserk when I come home," said Becks, a student.
Becks is a junior. She says she suffered from anxiety in high school and knows how it can consume her life.
“During finals week you just need something to help you calm down and get away from everything. So when I found out about the assistance animal policy, I looked into bringing my dog down here and it just worked out that I could have her down here with me," Becks said.
Belle, a chocolate lab is not the only pet Lauren Becks keeps. She also cares for a fish, turtle and salamander. Though Belle gets to go to classes.
“She’s just by my side the entire time. If I’m in class, I’m having a rough day, I think that she can feel it. She’s just beneath my feet. She sleeps below the desk. She’ll come over and give me kisses," said Becks.
“Without him it would be a lot harder for me to go to school. Last year I really struggled with getting out of bed especially during the colder months and going to class. It’s really hard for me to do things without having a reason to get out of bed in the morning," said Tegge.
While more students are living with pets in college, it’s still only a small percentage.
“We have more students with mental health issues coming to college. We have less stigma. I won’t say we have no stigma, but we have less stigma. So those requests are more likely for those reasons," said a faculty member at Ohio State.