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Having pets on campus residence is complicated and has both positives and negatives. Are pets worth being on campus or are they a nuisance for residents?

Pets and college students don’t mix. While in college, students should not be allowed to have a pet because college students constantly live in unstable, poor, idle and stressful environments.

Most college students are aware of the uncertainty of the college atmosphere. One minute, a student can be vomiting out of a car window on the highway while going 100 miles per hour; the next minute they could be waking up in a strange location next to unknown individuals. This wild influx of time and varying schedules are not a good environment for a pet. Pets need stability. If the pet owner is unable to be around late in the night or throughout most of the day, they could possibly destroy that student’s residence or be endangered by the things left in a college students room.

College is an expensive place. Generally students are irresponsible with their money, and the added expense of a dog is no small matter. Marketwatch.com said, the National Student loan debt is estimated to be around 1.2 trillion dollars and nearly 70 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients leave school with debt, while the added cost of ownership for a dog exceeds one thousand dollars a year. This expense would burden college students further who are already living off Ramen noodles.

Many college students live in campus dormitories that do not allow pets on the premises. Even if they do, pets could cause various housing issues. The UTSA Resident Handbook specifically states, “the university allows a person with a disability to be accompanied by a Service Animal which is by definition limited to dogs.” The handbook also states students may have “Emotional Support” (or Assistance) animals. UTSA does not allow residents to have pets in their dorms (or on campus) unless that pet is being used for emotional support or for a person with a disability; however, even if pets are permitted they could be an annoyance to students in a small dorm. Not only are many pets are untrained, but pets can also be very noisy during after hours, which could potentially cause conflicts between roommates. Lastly, many college students are lazy, and they may not clean up after their messy pets.

The final reason college students should not be allowed to have dogs as pets is because of the stress. College, as we all know, can be a stressful place. Even though some people believe having a pet will change that reality, they are completely and utterly wrong. I will be the first to admit dogs, cats and other pets are cute and fun to have around. They can make you feel better, but they cannot help you get over the rigors of studying, failing an exam or, most importantly, depression. According to the College Health Assessment, at four year institutions, nearly 30 percent of college students reported they felt so depressed it was difficult to function. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, this type of depression stems from students leaving home for the first time, learning to live independently, taking tough classes and getting less sleep, while in an unfamiliar environment.

The adoption of a pet can incur great, unexpected and long term obligations that many students would be unprepared for. When considering the stresses of college life, and the increased responsibilities as well as mental health concerns, college students should not be allowed to own a pet.

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