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Maybe think twice before getting a pet in college. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons user Pogrebnoj-Alexandroff)

Life lessons my dead fish taught me

New college freedom allows students to make their own decisions on everything from sleeping to eating to studying. Residents are allowed to have pet fish while living in a dorm, so in classic fashion, I went to Walmart and bought a fish. 

After buying a fish, a small tank, gravel, plants, water drops, food and, of course, a Spongebob-themed pineapple, I had just spent close to $40. Setting up and welcoming my new fish named Herman, I spent the evening watching him explore his new home. I woke up the next morning finding my fish dead on the bottom of the gravel. 

Devastated, I promptly flushed my deceased fish and emptied the water in the tank. Here are five life lessons I learned from being a fish owner for approximately 24 hours. 

Taking care of a living thing is really hard

Not only was I responsible for making sure I eat daily, sleep enough and get to class on time, I was trying to care for another living thing. It meant feeding my fish, cleaning its tank and making sure it stayed alive. My failure really brought to my attention that having a pet while in school might not be the best idea, and it might take away from time spent on schoolwork and caring for myself.

It is okay to be alone

Having a pet around was nice when I was in the dorm alone. While it may seem like a valid reason to get a pet, it is okay to be alone. Not having a pet also gives me more time to spend with friends instead of with a pet fish who has no way of communicating or giving any emotional support. 

Do not buy impulse things

My fish cost me $40 that I will never be able to get back. As a college student, I do not have extra money to be spending on impulse items. The fish taught me the importance of saving my money for things that I will actually need in the future or for the student loans I will eventually have to pay off. 

Life is not always fair

While the thought of having a fish seemed fantastic at the time, it was unfair that within only one day it passed away. The event taught me that life is not always fair. While my fish may have died, there are things that have been amazing this academic year that have to be valued and remembered because things in life are not always going to be fair.

Pets probably should not be bought at Walmart

It might seem like a good idea to buy a pet at Walmart because of how accessible it is, but it’s probably not a good idea. It is unknown where the fish came from or how long it was in the tank at the store. I suggest that if I still did not convince you to not buy a fish, to buy one from a real pet store and not a supermarket.


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