Finals season is just around the corner and while it does promise a break as a reward, it also brings a lot of stress with it. Trust me, I know how easy it is to get caught up in the whirlwind of studying, sleepless nights and coffee-fueled testing, but finals week doesn’t always have to be that way! There is, of course, many ways to reduce stress, but my personal favorite is cute and cuddly: puppies! Specifically, petting puppies or kittens. Playing and cuddling with fuzzy friends has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm nerves while also giving animals some well-deserved love and attention. So basically, it’s a win-win for both parties involved! Now I know not everyone in college has a pet or knows people with pets, but there are definitely still some great ways to spend time with a companion animal! For example, throughout the years Clemson has had pop-ups of “Rent A Puppy”. This gives students the chance to spend some time with happy little dogs who just want to shower people in affection between their classes or on study breaks. In the past, utilizing “Rent A Puppy” allows college kids to either walk the puppies around campus and get their endorphins up or simply just sit and play with the animals. Either way, it gives the student the chance to do whatever they need to relieve some stress. Of course, “Rent A Puppy” can be sporadic in location and you may be busy during their pop-ups. There’s still another way to spend some quality time and that’s by visiting an animal shelter. This one is my personal favorite for numerous reasons. First, the hours of an animal shelter are consistent, making it easier to design a studying schedule around. Second, animal shelters are free, which is a huge benefit when it comes to college students. Along with getting rid of some stress, visiting an animal shelter provides another super positive result. It gives the animals within the shelter some human attention and love. Some pets at animal shelters get adopted immediately, but unfortunately, with a lot of others, especially the older dogs, it takes a long time. Most of the animals in a shelter are total sweethearts and would be overjoyed to see you! So during this finals week, go out there and do some good for both you and a fuzzy friend!