Cars are a symbol of independence, particularly for young drivers.
The unique feeling of driving your own car by yourself for the first time can seem daunting but also liberating. The knowledge that you can go anywhere you wish as long as you keep the fuel gauge up is a freedom only eclipsed by moving into your own place. Many students moving into their own accommodation this year will have the option of taking their car with them too. But before you’re tempted to bring along your pride and joy there are a few issues you might want to think about.
Without trying to sound like your parents, the most obvious disadvantage would be the cost. For instance, annual parking licences can be upwards of £250 at some city universities. More rural university accommodation tends to have cheaper parking but it is still a price you will have to pay. It is not only accommodation parking either. Parking in the town or city centre brings a world of new challenges such as permit parking, parking hours and pay and display.
There is also the growing problem of congestion. Using public transport can help alleviate the issue in your area and is especially noticeable in some university towns such as Loughborough (where students account for a quarter of the population).
Alternatives like public transport, lift-sharing or even walking may convince you to leave your car behind. Bus companies also provide student discount on transport so it’s sensible to take advantage of this while you can.
Everybody knows university can become stressful, keeping on top of deadlines or even your social life can get somewhat hectic. Adding a car to this mix and all the worries that go with it like scrapes, vandalism or a dreaded breakdown is the last thing you’ll need. It’s probably worth pondering whether you’re able to deal with the difficulties car ownership can spring on you.
Despite these concerns, there are numerous plus points in taking your car to university. The unrivalled convenience is something you’ll likely end up taking for granted but if you’re in rural settings with the local town centre a bus ride away, a car will always be the more appealing option.
A car will also give you the freedom to explore beyond the university community. Not just the local area, but further afield- the next town over or perhaps county. You may have travelled the length of the country for your university, it’d be a good idea to take in as much of the culture and scenery as possible.
If your degree requires a work placement, you’ll probably find a more extensive range of jobs available to you if you can travel further quicker. Employers may even look more favourably on those with access to a car from a dependability standpoint.
Different universities and accommodation both require suitable approaches to travel. There is no right or wrong answer to this, it is solely up to you as an individual to weigh up the advantages against the disadvantages for your personal lifestyle. Hopefully these examples will be of use when you make your decision.