It’s that time again. It’s time for slobbery kisses, belly rubs, and exchanging lint rollers to clean off your black pants. It’s therapy dog season. And I’m tired of it.
Despite the opinions of many who prefer their fluffy friend at their side, therapy dogs are a hindrance to college students.
Ivy league universities such as Stanford, Yale Law, and Princeton are all providing therapy dogs during finals week due to the benefits of reducing stress for faculty and students. The reasoning behind therapy dogs, however, creates harm.
Creating a safe space on campus with therapy dogs suggests that college students are incapable of handling any type of pressure, even that of test-taking.
College should be a safe place that allows students to grow both intellectually and socially. But when this safe place is taken to an extreme by coddling the students for four years, we are then in for a rude awakening upon graduation.
For seniors, leaving a college atmosphere is extremely daunting because it brings many unknowns. But especially for those who have never had to face true adversity.
Many employers seek individuals who are able to work under pressure, solve problems, deal with conflict, and manage a team. These are all qualities college graduates need to be able to achieve, without relying on a therapy dog for support when chaos rises, if they wish to succeed among their career field.
Therapy dogs may be helpful during stressful times, but we should not be given this crutch as students, because we need to be able to learn how to survive in the real world without this little perk.
Taking an exam, presenting a speech, or turning in an essay has been implemented in education since elementary school. After twenty years of repeating this same pattern, it should not cause such great distress for college students.
Students choose the path of higher education, hopefully knowing that it is not an easy one but rather a huge accomplishment. Yes, finals week is hard. We should not need to rely on the school to supply cute distractions when those fluffy creatures will not be waiting for us in a few years when we have a stressful deadline at work.
College is designed to be a time where students can be stretched to their abilities, preparing them for what is next. Tough experiences such as exams should be no exception.
If these students do not know how to cope with day-to-day moments of stress, than the structure of a four-year institution has failed to complete their duty, which is to prepare individuals for the next step in life.
Overcoming difficulty should only make success that much sweeter when handed that diploma.
We wonder why the millennial generation no longer desires hard-work or perseverance, and that is because they have never been given the opportunity to-do so. It is because we are rewarding individuals with trophies for everything. We stopped grading in red ink because it left negative impressions.
Instead, when life becomes rough they are handed a puppy and taught to leave their worries behind.
Universities need to stop sheltering students, and instead provide them with mechanisms that are applicable no matter where they are at in life.
Playing with and petting a puppy is not realistic. Many people will not have dogs as pets in the future, whether because they are expensive or their apartment will not allow it. Furthermore, in real life, if you have a dog, you also have the responsibility of taking care of the animal before you get to enjoy the playtime.
Rather, an institution should encourage students to take advantage of free counseling, so that they can understand where the root of their anxiety comes from. Or, provide a special chapel where people can pray for one another and be reminded where their help truly comes from.
As for students, stop relying on these crutches the institution provides because, at the end of the day, therapy dogs only place a band-aid on top of such stress. Therapy dogs do not have that type of power to fully heal the deep fear that is found throughout finals week.
Until students and universities understand the importance of fighting through tough battles, this generation will continue to be afraid of new challenges because they lack the ability with how to face them alone.