Photo: Luigi Manga on Unsplash
Having a car in college is one of the biggest freedoms you can have. You can drive your buddies around, drive to school or home, and get around town easily without having to ask for rides constantly. However, it is as much a responsibility as it is a benefit. Parking may cost a bit of money, and you must keep an eye on your car all the time. Taking a car to college is an entirely new experience for many, so here’s some information to keep in mind:
Social Life Becomes Easier
If you or none of your friend circle do not have a car for some portion of college, then having brought a car opens the door to new adventures. You can give rides or meet up in a pinch. It also becomes easier to take more people with you, and to drive to places further away that you otherwise could not reach.
Having a car on campus means you can drive home more frequently to visit family and old friends, depending on how far away you live and your schedule. Having a flexible travel option is so much more convenient compared to flying, taking a bus, getting picked up or dropped off by someone else. If you are lucky, one of your new college friends may live close to your hometown and could be a travel buddy.
If you live within walking distance of campus, then your car usage may be limited to getting some food and groceries. Public transportation or campus transportation, like a bus or shuttle, also reduces the need for a car. Your car may be sitting around for some time as a result. It all depends on how frequently you need it for your personal schedule, so consider what you will be using it for and how much.
Parking is Good and Bad
Having your own car means you have to put it somewhere. It may be parked right near your dorm or apartment complex and easy to access. Or, depending on where you live, parking may be limited, or worse, it may cost hard cash to park year-round. Sometimes fees are costly, putting into question the worth of having a car on campus. If you live in a dorm with roommates, you may end up with only one parking spot between you, leading to inevitable conflict on who gets the space, and who will have to make do elsewhere.
Winter is Brutal
If you go to school somewhere more tropical like California or Florida, lucky you, winter is not an issue. For most of the country, winter is coming, and it is a bummer for car owners on campus. For one, driving to campus in a blizzard is difficult. But the real oof is thawing your windshield in numbing temperatures with your fingers freezing off. Frozen windshields are tough to clear, and warming up your car daily is important to not having issues with your battery. Be prepared to sit in your car shivering while waiting for it to warm up. This is the ice cold reality of having a car in college.
Having a car in college certainly can make your life more relaxing. You are freed from so many constraints as it is so much easier to go somewhere further away from campus. But with greater horsepower, comes greater responsibility.Take care of your car as you would at home to make sure you get everywhere you want to smoothly. Now that you have the top gear added to your college life, drive forward to a better college experience.
Rishi Patel is a senior majoring in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has written as an intern for SPORTalk and Study Breaks Magazine. He also loves to write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as a hobby to expand his writing prowess. He hopes to work as a writer/editor when he graduates.