Purrfect Stress Relief

I have a weekend routine at Swarthmore.  Sunday mornings, I sleep in after dancing the night away at Olde Club (Swarthmore’s student-run performance space) or the Crumb Cafe (our student-run late-night cafe).  When I finally drag myself out of bed, I get ready and make my way down to Sharples brunch, (my favorite meal), for some eggs, waffles, buttered biscuits, and a recap of the night before.

After an entertaining meal with friends, one or two accompany me on my next errand– destination? Providence Animal Center.  Every weekend we take the 10 minute drive over to the center, where our names and faces are becoming familiar, to snuggle some cats like Atticus (the black and white cat at the beginning of this post).  Being at school away from my three cats is difficult, and animals provide stress relief and much needed love, so I find that spending an hour or two at the shelter every Sunday is a great way to improve my work ethic and productivity when I return to campus, especially for all those tasks that I, unfortunately, put off until Sunday night.  The ~Sunday Scaries~ are very real, but spending some time away from obligations, and giving attention to cats who likely need it even more than you, is a great way to prevent or minimize the effects. Additionally, the Worth Health Center has a therapy Poodle named Izzy, and Swarthmore’s SGO (Student Government Organization) has arranged to bring puppies from the Providence Animal Center to campus on Sundays, so “dog people” have an even shorter trip for snuggles! 

The Worth Health Center’s Therapy Dog, Izzy!

One rare Sunday, I found myself too busy to take the drive to the shelter.  By 8PM, I was sad, lonely, and unproductive in my work. I did something out of character for me– I posted on the Swarthmore College Facebook page asking if anyone had an emotional support animal on campus that I could come and spend time with.  Surprisingly, over ten students (strangers!) replied within minutes, inviting me over to meet their support kittens.  I walked to the closest dorm, exchanged a few words with the very kind owner, and pet the cat for a few minutes.  Instantly, my stress and loneliness dissolved, and I headed back to the Science Center for a few more hours of work, thankful for the community that Swarthmore gave to me and for the silly kitten spilling its food bowl all over the floor.

One of the resident’s of the Providence Animal Shelter. His name is Casserole!

About the Author:

Hey! I’m Liz, a sophomore from Long Island, New York.  I’m a prospective double major in Medical Anthropology and Chemistry on the pre-med track.  When I’m not in class, I’m most likely at the pool, either training with the Swarthmore Swim team, lifeguarding or teaching swim lessons!  I’m in the orchestra and work in a biochemistry lab and as a tour guide on campus. I’m also a member of the Global Health Forum and TOP Soccer, a student organization that allows young athletes with disabilities to play soccer in a supportive environment.  I am excited to share my experiences here at Swarthmore!

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