Aberdeen University, you are all geniuses.
This May, the Scotland university will provide rooms full of puppies with whom undergraduate students can relax from the stress of final exams. An initial trial run in February proved successful, as trained golden retrievers and Labradors from Guide Dogs For The Blind visited the school and provided students with fluffy therapy.
"We got a really positive reaction to that from the guide dogs and the students," said Emma Carlen, the university's president of societies and student activities. "It really chilled them out, so that encouraged us to get this set up for the exam period."
Puppy therapy isn't a new concept — it is believed to have originated in American and Canadian universities, where it still thrives. Harvard Medical School's Cooper holds regular office hours, Yale Law School's Monty is a fixture on campus, and Indiana University even held a "Rent-a-Puppy" day where students could book time with and even adopt a puppy.
There are also benefits to how one studies after exposure to cute animals. In a study from Hiroshima University in Japan called "Power of Kawaii" ("kawaii" means "cute" in Japanese), researchers showed that students' concentration increased after looking at photos of puppies and kittens. Interaction with animals can also reduce cortisol levels and release endorphins in the brain, both key processes in reducing stress.
If for whatever reason Aberdeen students don't want to hang out with the puppies, the school's student association will also offer snacks, smoothies, and massages for students to de-stress during finals.
"Students struggle a lot with stress coming up to exam time, not only with exams, but also are a lot of deadlines with essays and dissertations that come up at the same time," Carlen added, as if the university needed more good reasons to invite the puppies on campus.
It really sounds like Aberdeen is "doing it right" when it comes to final exam time — hopefully the puppies enjoy the socialization as much as students benefit from their presence!