Carl Morison, a Weinberg third-year, didn’t bring his teddy bear, Teddy, with him to Northwestern when he lived in a fraternity house. Despite the fact that Teddy gave him immense comfort when he was stressed out or missing home, Teddy found his place on a shelf or in the closet.
“I didn’t bring Teddy out much because I didn’t want to have to explain the story to many people, and because it might have been thought of as odd for a male- identifying person to have a stuffed animal on his bed,” Morison says. As Morison got older, having a stuffed animal came with a negative stigma — so he began to subconsciously look to other methods of coping. He started running or doing various activities outside to help with the general stress of college, as well as stress-eating snacks and watching lots of Netflix.
“For homesickness, instead of using my Teddy to feel like home, I would just call my parents or family instead, as this also gave a feeling of home. I feel like I learned to use these things as coping mechanisms to help me relax, when I probably could have gotten the same effect or better from sleeping with my teddy bear,” Morison says.
Having a stuffed animal
can ameliorate the feeling of
loneliness or even simply just be
something to hug. According to
a 2018 study from OnePoll and
real estate company Life Storage,
43% of American adults engage
with stuffed animals. Despite this
commonality, a taboo still exists
— especially as we grow older. But
for Northwestern students, it can
provide a sense of comfort that’s
unlike anything else.
Photo submitted by Carl Morison.