You might have heard about the health benefits of having a pet, but maybe you think taking care of a pet doesn’t fit in your busy graduate school schedule.
I’ve always had cats, but since “I was a student” and “did not have time for a pet” my cats always stayed with my parents where I would spend my weekends. Until I moved to a small apartment in Brussels and was spending my days at home to work on my degree thesis. So I did a little experiment and took Pasha (the cat in the pictures) with me to Brussels.
With my little companion, spending days and days at home to work on my thesis suddenly became much more pleasant. I was making calculations with Pasha on my lap, or very close to me in the sofa, I took some breaks to let him run behind a ball or a stuffed mouse. He’d be doing funny things which made me smile and I was feeling less stressed about my thesis.
When I moved to Delft, Pasha moved with me. It wasn’t easy to find housing where pets are allowed, but I’m very glad I found a place where he is allowed.
I remember that 3 months into my PhD I came home very stressed. I was ready to shout at the very first person in front of me. Just from my body language, Pasha got scared off and went hiding. This made me realize I had to relax, enjoy my evening, and figure out my PhD problems the next day, behind my office computer.
Right before I fall asleep, I find it hard to stop thinking about Everything I Have To Do. However, when I just listen to Pasha’s peaceful purring, I fall asleep easily.
During the weekend, he’s constantly by my side while I’m reading for my literature review.
If you are considering having a pet, don’t think that you can’t have one until you “grow up” and get out of graduate school.