ESA's -- Worth the Hype?
It's been exactly one year (this week!) since Cricket first came to college. I can't believe it's already been a year! Having my sweet cat here at school makes me SO happy, even when I've had a horrible day!
Getting her certified was a little stressful. The first week I had her here, she wasn't registered as an Emotional Support Animal. I wanted to bring my cat to college, so I just did. My roommates and I were constantly worried that we were going to get caught, so I decided to get her registered as an ESA.
The Process Was A Hassle
The initial process of getting Cricket certified was a bit stressful. I went through an online platform (CertaPet) where I talked one-on-one with a therapist. She agreed that I would greatly benefit from having an ESA to alleviate some issues with anxiety/IBS.
The entire process took about a week. On top of the therapy sessions and application, I had to apply for a disability accommodation with my college. I had a meeting with them and then another meeting with my RHC (the principal of dorm rooms). I had to call the vet and have them fax over Cricket's records and fill out paperwork with the school.
It was stressful, especially since I already had her here illegally.
Other than the hassle of paperwork/meetings/appointments, the only other downside to bringing her to college was the cost. I paid a lump sum to do my ESA session online/over the phone. There are much cheaper options, but this was the fastest route for me and my situation.
Why You Need an ESA
They Relieve Anxiety
Having my cat live with me at college is probably my favorite thing about living on-campus. Even when I've had a horrible, stressful day, I look forward to coming back to my room and seeing my Crickie.
As soon as she hears the door unlock, she runs to greet me at the door and give me love. She follows me to the bathroom, sits in my lap while I study, and (best of all) sleeps with me every night. Her personality has blossomed in the past year that she's been here.
Cats and dogs make such great ESA's because of their companionship. YOU are their human and they love you! Being with your pet, the responsibility of taking care of your pet, and the bond you share with him/her is why animals relieve so much anxiety.
Nursing school has by far been the most stressful time of my life. I am filled with anxiety and constantly overwhelmed. I have previously shared my issues with IBS (Stress, Mess, and IBS) which is stress-induced. I have combat this issue with many tactics, one of them being having Cricket with me.
This reason alone would be enough for me to do the ESA process again. I think every college student (that's not allergic) should have access to an emotional support animal.
Everyone Else Loves Them, Too!
My roommates and suite-mates love Cricket! Grant and his roommates love to see her, too. Just about every week, someone is asking to come over to visit Cricket.
This gives me way more friendships and opportunities to laugh with others. It gives me something in common with every single person who comes over--we both adore Cricket. She loves being the center of attention, so friends are always welcome.
It's super easy for me to keep to myself and stay quiet, but having people over to see the cat keeps me somewhat social.
They're Like... Really Freaking Funny Sometimes
Since living with Cricket 24/7, I've learned more about her than I thought imaginable. She's done some pretty hilarious things, most of which I can't even explain. I never realized how big of a personality a cat could have until a year ago.
Cricket climbs the window screen (it's on the inside) and shakes it, almost like Mario when he climbs fences. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? No? Okay.
If you accidentally leave a dresser drawer cracked, she will open it and pull out all the clothes. And I mean ALL the (FOLDED) clothes. ON THE FLOOR.
No matter what you're eating, Cricket needs a bite, too. Yes, even Pringles and Wheat Thins.
Sometimes, she acts really crazy. She gets crazy eyes and sprints circles around the room and bounces off the walls. It looks like a cartoon!
Cricket demands attention. This usually occurs when I'm trying to study, but she is persistent with making her needs known. She will lay on your laptop or notebook until you pet her enough.
I took Cricket on a "walk" around campus once. AKA, she hid in my backpack the entire time.
And I'm not even going to mention when she peed in Grant's car.
If anyone is contemplating whether or not they would like to get approved for an emotional support animal, I would highly recommend it. I absolutely love having my cat here with me. She provides a bond and companionship that no one else can fill.
Based on my experience this past year, having an ESA in college is definitely worth the hype!
What's your experience with pets and companions? Have you ever thought about the ESA process?