School of Communication second-year Nya Ku’s bed is covered in stuffed animals — a lot of Jellycats (a London-based stuffed animal company) and a lot of frogs.

The first Jellycat in Ku’s collection was from their mom, as a gift when their brother left for college. Over the next few years, both of their parents have gifted Ku more stuffed animals.

While Ku, who has a chronic illness, was in the hospital their freshman year of college, their dad started bringing them stuffed animals all the time.

“The doctors and nurses would always come in and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, there are more?’” they said. “When I was better, we had to take all these bags of Jellycats.”

Around the same time, Ku and their mom started a tradition after surgeries and procedures. They would visit a nearby bookstore after leaving the hospital. There, they found Francisco Frog, which Ku affectionately said looks like their mom.

Ku said they feel they can give stuffed animals “permission” to hold onto memories. Even though many of their stuffed animals came from a difficult time in their life, Ku said they appreciate being able to take care of their inner child.

“I remember being a little kid and thinking, ‘Oh, there’s going to be a day when I’m no longer going to want my stuffed animals,’” they said. “But I feel like there’s a certain level of comfort that a lot of people derive from having something like that to ground you and to remind you that you’re cared for.”

See the other stuffed animals!