With the job market slowly shrinking and the demand for more young adults to maximize their education, college students are facing the most stress in their lives. In fact, according to Dr. Trent Davis, a counselor at Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling, college students in present day are facing the most stress of any generations’ college students.
Also, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that from a 2008 survey, “ 80% of college students say they faced daily stress.”
Virginia Tech is known for being one of the premier colleges in America when it comes to technology, but they are also a forerunner in different fields of study. At Virginia Tech, one of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s programs is VT Helping P.A.W.S. VT Helping P.A.W.S. is a program where vet students, faculty, and graduates volunteer their pets for training in the hopes of becoming certified with national services for therapy. The program holds events twice a month where pets are brought to different locations on campus and there is a mass-petting. These events help both the students deal with their stress, as well as the pets deal with the stresses of their lives.
Natalie Bale of the VT Helping P.A.W.S. program said, “People can come to an event and you can just see the stress melt away as they [the students] pet the animals.”
And while VT Helping P.A.W.S. is one unique way Virginia Tech is dealing with the stresses of college, there are other ways to deal with stress.
Dartmouth’s Academic Skills Center, for example, gives their students multiple links to different colleges’ websites where students can find techniques to help with stress as well as other exercises, handouts, and videos.
Other examples of dogs helping in stressful situations is at a Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. A recent article in the Virginian Pilot gave the details of the story of their new facility dog. There, a two year-old golden retriever named SaraLee puts in about 40 hours a week serving as a facility dog at the hospital. SaraLee had training to become a facility dog in New York with the Canine Companions for Independence organization. Once her training was done, she was introduced to the hospital where she has quickly become a patient-favorite visitor.