Swimming Into Adulthood

I get it, adulting is hard. College is a system that throws kids into adulthood in a matter of months, and it’s a lot to get adjusted to. For the first time in your life you have to figure out how to do laundry and taxes and feed yourself and make sure you’re healthy and if you’re not healthy you are the one who has to figure out how to microwave some soup. It’s not easy, but if I may, I have a simple solution for a small part of that: get a fish.

I know, but hear me out. It’s easy to think that taking on another responsibility will only be overwhelming, especially one that you need to keep alive. And they don’t do a whole lot, so why make the investment?

While all these things make sense, one thing I do know is that Dmitri, my betta, has made college so much easier for me, and I think getting a fish can help you too.

Anxiety Avoidance

For starters, fish are scientifically proven to help with stress. Sitting in front of a fish tank forces you to watch something move around a small space in a relaxed manner. There’s water and sometimes there’s even a colorful light. The whole experience is simply relaxing. Also, there’s the added benefit of companionship. Fish are literally always ready to listen; so, even when you feel overwhelmed and like no one is there to talk to, there’s one creature who is waiting to hear all about your day.

Style Starters

Second, fish are pretty. One of the most exciting things about becoming an adult is getting to decorate your own space. Fish, especially bettas, take up very little room in your small dorm, but add a lot of style. If you take the time to customize the tank to your interests, it's yet another thing you can use to make a new space feel like your own.

Self-Care Secrets

Third, fish help you be a better adult. In college it's really easy to let some things slide. You throw your hair up instead of taking a shower one day, leave your laundry sitting unwashed until you run out of pants, let all your papers pile up on the desk, forget to sleep, forget to eat and if you’re eating enough you’re not eating right, etc. Without a mom to tell you what to do and where to go this freedom can result in a lack of self-care.

However, Dmitri serves as my friendly reminder. I need to feed him twice a day, 3-4 pellets, sometimes an extra if he struggled to eat one the day before (his mouth is too small it's adorable.) In the same way, I need to drag myself down to the dining hall twice a day, and grab a reasonable meal for myself. Not ramen, not fries (or at least not for the whole meal). I need to clean Dmitri’s tank every 3 weeks or so. While I’m cleaning his tank, why not get some laundry done, and organize my desk?

Fishy Friendship

Finally, when I feel a little down, I know that someone is waiting for me when I get home. Someone who I am literally the whole world to, outside of a few walls and a plastic dinosaur. I have something counting on me, and even when everything else in the whole world is going wrong, I know that I’m doing something right.

So, want to be better at this struggle of understanding “real life?” Before you start feeling underwater, get a fish.