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This meant I was faced with a dilemma. The overriding advice was that new drivers should get out there and become road hardy, but I just
knew that I wouldn’t need a car at uni.
The cost was an obvious factor all young drivers face, but I felt confident that even if I had buckets of money to splash out on a Ferrari Enzo, I still wouldn’t be compelled to take a car to uni.
1. You will become a taxi
Now this is all fine if you’ll be popping to the supermarket* and fancy a little company in the form of three flatmates and 20 bags for life, but what about when someone else decides it’s a great idea to drive three hours to Alton Towers? Suddenly you’re the chosen one (AKA the dogsbody with a car).
Now don’t get me wrong, this can be great. Popping to the seaside on a glorious day? Fantastic.
But what about when your lecturer decides on a trip to a geologically interesting formation in the middle of nowhere and suddenly everyone with a car has to pitch in?
“With great power comes great responsibility” was never a truer saying when it comes to taking a car to uni. If you love driving and aren’t averse to hankering after a little petrol money, then the world is your oyster. If you really couldn’t give two hoots about getting from A-B however, think on.
*Be warned, if there is a half price offer on Ben & Jerry’s, half the students in your halls will want to come along too.
2. Parking Paranoia
Parking around my uni (halls and houses) was literally fraught with obstacles. There was the time someone had smeared their kebab on some poor soul’s windscreen. There was the hill that would become a death ice slope in winter, yet cars would still drive down it and crash into other cars.
Worse still there was the unfortunately placed car park where it was suspected cars were subjected to some curious goings on.
Imagine parking on a very busy street where the residents are likely to get frequently drunk. That’s what parking a car at uni is like.
One friend wouldn’t even move his faithful old Clio because someone else would take the spot outside his house.
3. Can you actually move the thing?
My housemate worked in our union bar, meaning that the end of her shift she would often have to hoof it home at 3am. A taxi would take up an hour’s pay of her 4 hour shift, so instead, against our protests, she would walk home.
Why am I telling you this? Because she had a car. But since there was nowhere to park it at the union, driving home wasn’t really an option. Instead she would walk home with the shameful drunks, take the moral high ground and pledge to never drink again. A resolution that would last for 24 hours.
Before you head to uni it’s easy to imagine that bringing a car will give you the option to zoom around town. Once you actually arrive in a city however, the number of double yellows, jam-packed pay and display car parks and confusing signs which state you can park free but only on the 3
rd Thursday of the month is mind-boggling.
4. Save on insurance, tax, petrol AND the gym
It isn’t a myth that students can easily put on weight in the first year. A heady combination of fast food, alcohol and ‘not-knowing-how-to-cook-so-eat-pop-tarts-instead syndrome’ will see to that.
Walking everywhere is the student way. It’s free, good for you and pretty sociable too.
5. Will it be useful for your course?
My medic housemate ended up really needing a car in the last 3 years of her course. She was on placements at hospitals that would take too many public transport transfers to make travel feasible on a daily basis. If placements are part of your course, then a car can be a magical thing.
If your law lectures are likely to take place in the same building for 3 years, however, then chances are you won’t
really need a car solely for ‘educational purposes’.
The same goes for getting home. A return ticket home (with a railcard) might come in at £20 and if you can face the apocalypse which cross-country weekend trains present, chances are it’ll work out cheaper than driving.
Victoria is a recent graduate and a long-standing motoring lover. You can catch all her latest car doodles, rants and motoring advice on the Number 1 Plates blog.