Apr 1, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Research published last year in the American Educational Research Association Open (AERA Open) determined that animals in the classroom lead to a number of positive impacts on students, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving social interactions, and increasing motivation and learning. But why limit all of this goodness to the classroom when you can keep the benefits flowing by adopting a pet?  Which begs the question: Which pet is right for you? The answer may depend on what you’re studying. Read on for a roundup of six majors and the perfect pet partner.

1. Math

Math may not be easy for many humans, but rabbits don’t seem to have any problem with it -- at least when it comes to multiplying. The takeaway? If you’re looking for an inside edge with arithmetic, a bunny may be your new best friend.

Dealing with more advanced math? A pet monkey may make more sense. According to researchers, humans aren’t the only species with sophisticated mathematical capabilities. Rhesus monkeys also demonstrate math skills, at least when it comes to using symbols to estimate. Sure, they may top the list of “worst choice” pets, but isn’t that a small price to pay for help with those tricky problem sets?

2. Finance and economics.

Being savvy with money is important for students of finance and economics. Enter birds. If you’re looking to pad your pockets, a goldfinch may be the perfect pet: their bright yellow color is associated with wealth.

Meanwhile, according to the classic children’s nursery rhyme One for Sorrow, magpies can foretell future wealth -- but only if you have five or six of them.  But what’s so wrong with having a handful of these brilliant beauties around? We’re sure your roommates won’t mind one bit when you tell them plenty of silver and gold is headed their way.

3. Meteorology.

While we often laud technological advancements for their contributions to the field of meteorology, they’ve got nothing on a good old-fashioned cat. According to Weather Proverbs as shared by Time magazine, cats can do everything from predict rain by sneezing to foretell a winter thaw by cozying up with their back to a fireplace. They can even tell which way the wind will blow depending on how they wash their faces. An added bonus? You’ll never find yourself umbrella-less in foul weather again!

4. Earthquake science.

Experts say that while they know the “big one” is coming, there’s no real way to know when. Could they be looking in the wrong place? According to some scientists, dogs have the ability to predict seismic events like earthquakes before they occur. If you live in California or Japan and your dog starts pacing and/or becomes restless or distressed, it may be time to drop, cover, and hold on. Or maybe your dog just needs a walk.

5. Politics

Politicians are the ultimate power players. Also associated with power in many cultures? Horses. Says Pyreaus, “The qualities of power, freedom and travel have always been associated with the mighty and magnificent horse, the eternal hero of antiquity, charging across the plains of the world, eyes and form focused with fiery determination.”

In other words, if you’re looking to increase your profile in your political science class by giving off a more powerful aura, a pet horse may be the way to go. But why stop there? Make an even bigger impression by riding it to class.

6. Medicine

While dolphin parts were once used medicinally, live dolphins have long had a history of aiding humans. Today, researchers are studying the “miraculous healing” abilities of dolphin skin and blubber to learn whether it has applications for humans. Scientist Michael Zasloff told Live Science, “This is an animal of extreme similarity structurally to us. This could be the source of information, the place to find some [answers to the] great mysteries that we as physicians are trying to solve.”  

And while housing your pet dolphin may take some extra effort, it’s worth it: Dolphins can not only help you with your medical studies, but spending time with your pet dolphin may also help alleviate medical school stress.  

One last thing to keep in mind before you run off and invest in a pet monkey or dolphin? The date. HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY!






Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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