In the life of a college student, it’s hard to find the time between studying, extra curriculars on campus, work, drinking coffee and making some attempt to be a grown-up in order to sustain and enjoy a truly fulfilling friendship with someone to whom you can always tell your problems.
You’ve got your roommates, the people in your major that you’re either friends with or tolerate, the folks you eat lunch with, and old comrades from high school that are difficult to keep in touch with while living a college life.
Despite the close communities that develop on small campuses, I feel that in the thick of all the collegiate stress, we all still lack that best friend in whom we can really confide.
We need that special confidante that will listen and not compare our stress to their stress, double-majors and insane amount of hours, but truly set all of his or her personal trials aside and focus—focus, listen and not compare or judge.
My solution is this: try having a chat with a friend from the animal kingdom, instead.
Who better listen to your problems than your impartial pet dog or cat?
There’s no judgment.
There are no comparisons; your dog hasn’t gone to college (and if he has, I’d love to discuss my humanities homework with him), and your cat isn’t going through the transformation that all college kids experience when madly trying to find the direction of the rest of their lives,wondering really what’s worthwhile.
They may not understand—so what?
Do we really want a friend to understand our problems in college and life?
Because then they just compare it to their own, due to their being human as well and going through the same things.
Pets can’t compare your life to theirs.
No, they just listen.
And I think that’s what we all really want in life—someone to hear us.
On my weekends at home, I would vent all of the stress of the past week of classes to my cat, Poppy.
I would ask to her whiskered face all of those serious, real-world questions like, “Am I really majoring in the right thing?
“What the heck am I going to do with my life?
“Am I really happy?”
And Poppy listened.
Her big green eyes watched me attentively as I talked, and she put all of her personal life of catching mice and fighting with the dog aside to hear me out.
She respectfully waited until I was finished confessing to ask for food and/or a scratch on that good spot behind her ears.
A week ago, Poppy was hit by a fast-moving car and had to be put to sleep, because of the intensity of bone damage, leaving her five newborn kittens orphaned.
The anger I felt at losing her so tragically I don’t think will ever go away.
Although, it did make me realize how much this cat had given me.
She never stopped listening.
She never judged me.
I don’t know if I could have come to a lot of personal conclusions in my life if Poppy had not been there to listen as I confessed my fears and anxieties, never doing anything but loving me and hearing me.
I really can’t think of a human with as much sensitivity as Poppy, or a friend that I feel who has ever truly listened as closely to me as that cat.
While even my human friends have understood what I needed to say, Poppy never compared herself at any level to me or changed the subject to herself or her own life.
Maybe not all cats are as special and unselfish as she was, since she put aside her feline needs and hunger to listen to a human, offering cuddles of comfort.
But now, when I look back, her furry nuzzles and animal silence offered more personal consolation for me than any human companion ever had.
I’m not saying to throw your human friends away—no, keep them and appreciate them.
But when you need to vent and ask those questions that you’re afraid to ask, don’t turn to Facebook and count the comments.
Don’t feel unfulfilled and unimportant when your friends just say they’re going through the same thing, although there is some comfort in that we all should value.
But if you want to feel solely important, have every secret hidden, and really be heard, try a pet.
Their reassuring silence and furry love will make you feel as though you’ve really been heard.
So, when you’re at home this summer, try having a chat with your cat, dog, iguana or whatever animal you have.
And love them while they’re around, because they will listen to you and never judge, no matter what.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.