It’s a tough question for some students, one that needs to be considered carefully – do you need a car on campus?
This is especially true if you are in a large city, like myself. Most cities have a viable public transportation system (not Milwaukee, and I’ll get to that in a minute) and it’s even easy to get around on foot or by bicycle.
For those living in a rural area, a car is almost a necessity. You will never, ever see anything besides your campus if you don’t use a car of your own. Bumming rides off your friends will only last so long before you feel the need to take the wheel.
After living for two years in Milwaukee without a car, I felt this would be the year I’d need to bring one out there. I was unsatisfied with the bus route cuts and I would be slightly further from downtown than in years past, so walking would be time consuming (and potentially dangerous in the winter). I opted to utilize my apartment’s parking garage and drive my dad’s car out to Wisconsin, which he has graciously let me borrow.
People have their reasons for bringing a vehicle to campus, and mine is because of the convenience. I can get grocery shopping done without having to ask for rides from anybody. I can now drive to my workplace, which is about 15 blocks away, instead of walk. I can also go and explore parts of Wisconsin and parts of the Midwest I haven’t seen yet. Having the car here opens up plenty of opportunities.
One reason why people may not want to bring a car way out to their school is because of the troubles it may cause – mechanically, that is. Some may be hesitant about spending money on gas and oil changes as the prices continues to creep higher, and some may not want to have to deal with the stress a car breakdown causes.
But I weighed the options and decided that the car was in solid enough shape to survive the brutal Wisconsin winters, and a breakdown would not be the end of the world. A hassle, yes, but we deal with many hassles on a daily basis anyway. I’m no mechanic, but you should at least keep an eye on your oil level and antifreeze level, especially if you’re in a cold climate like me.
If you are in a city, you are already at a great advantage because many establishments are a stone’s throw away. If it has an extensive public transportation system, you just might be better off using that instead of hailing cabs or being stuck in traffic in your own car.
Do your research and look where your town or city’s public transport can take you. Subways and buses have regular service to airports, train stations, malls and major landmarks.
In the end, it’s all about your preference. If you envision yourself doing a lot of traveling over the course of the year, it just may be worth it to fire up the ignition and get your car out there. Some people prefer public transport, some hate it and some wish there was more of it.
I’m in that last group, but since the car is out here it doesn’t bother me much anymore. Look at the pros and cons and discuss it with your family because if you do take it with you and find you don’t need it, it will be a long, long trip back home.
Special thanks to Kyle’s mom for suggesting this topic! Want to be e-mailed when Kyle has a new column? Click the “keep me posted!” button below.