McCormick second-year Pantira Ketkaew and her boyfriend, McCormick second-year Jakub Kowalik, are both “drowning” in classes and labs, which means they can’t see each other as often. But Ketkaew still has the stuffed animals he has given her – a whale shark, a hammerhead shark and the Ikea icon Djungelskog.

She said Djungelskog reminds her of her boyfriend because he gifted it to her. She likes to hug it to sleep and pretend it’s Kowalik, which she said helps her fall asleep faster.

“I had a really hard time sleeping before,” Ketkaew said. “I would be stressed about homework and all that. This helps a lot.”

Growing up an only child, Ketkaew pretended her stuffed animals (like “Sister Goat”) were her siblings. Most of these stuffed animals are now at her home outside of Chicago, close enough so she can swap them out whenever she wants.

“My boyfriend makes me feel really safe and loved all the time,” Ketkaew said. “And they remind me of that.”

See the other stuffed animals!