Students should take care of themselves before adding a pet to the equation

David West Jr.

Full-time college students shouldn’t get pets. Hear me out. Without question, we, as college student, have a very high number of commitments and responsibilities. Whether it’s heavy workloads that keep us at the Perry-Castañeda Library for several hours at a time, commitments to different organizations or simply having to work a paying job when you’re done with classes, full time college students typically do not have the necessary time in their day to love and care for pets as much as they should.

As a person who had lived with pets my entire life before attending college, I understand just how much love, attention and care pets need and deserve. As college students, it’s difficult for us to provide for these animals on a consistent basis. 

“I don’t want to say a pet restricts you, but in a sense it does,” said Uri Lujan, a communication and leadership junior. “It’s just an extra commitment.”

You need to take at least four courses per semester for a total of 12 credit hours to be labeled a full time college student at UT. Even still, a handful of students commit to taking 15 credit hours and sometimes, even 17 credit hours. Students at the University are even able to take on 19 credit hours with the approval of an academic advisor. This means that college students at UT are able to take up to six courses at a time in both the fall and spring semesters. Students are learning how to take care of themselves, both academically and socially, in college, and adding a pet to the situation makes this much more difficult.

We as human beings tend to love animals and love having them as pets, but our roles as college students require the majority of our time and effort and take a great deal of physical and mental resiliency. Simply put, taking care of a pet on top of school can often be too much to handle. 

“I’m not always able to fulfill (my pet’s) needs,” neuroscience junior Katherine Vasquez said. “I’ve missed lab once which affected my grade, I’ve been late to school having to buy him food, and there are definitely safety concerns with having to take him out late at night.” 

For the majority of college students, this is the first time that we need to maintain a balanced lifestyle while living independently. Not everyone can handle this pressure immediately when first entering college. Clearly, this is a large task for a great deal of us, and as time progresses, more college-related challenges will surely arise.

Let’s learn how to take care of ourselves first and foremost and fully commit to it — we are all transitioning from full-time college student to full-time adult, so let’s make sure we have all the necessary preparation and guidance to do so effectively. A pet needs to be nurtured and cared for just like any human does, so let’s make a concerted effort to take care of ourselves before we add a pet to the equation.

West Jr. is a journalism sophomore from New Orleans.