Going away to college is a very exciting step in your life. At the same time, it can also be one of the most sentimental moments of your life since you are forced to be temporarily separated from your friends, family, and other aspects of your life. Aside from leaving family and friends, one of the toughest things to deal with is to think of how much easier your life would be if you had a car with you at college.  Lets face it; throughout high school getting your license and having a car to drive around was one of the greatest milestones to accomplish in life. Having a car certainly has the two words freedom and liberty written all over it. I’m sure that most of you are very dependent upon your cars in order to get to school and in order to be able to have fun and go out with friends in your free time. College is a whole different ball game when it comes to having cars. Having cars at college certainly has its pros, but like everything that has pros it also has its cons. You will constantly think to yourselves “ Man, I really wish I had a car with me. That would make my life so much easier.” At the same time you will also constantly think to yourself, “This my seem crazy, but I gladly appreciate not having a car with me.” Once you move off campus, a car is a great thing to have. I personally feel that having a car on campus as freshman would be a drag especially since it’s one more thing that you need to worry and you may end up spending an excessive amount of money on something that you might not even use very often. Unless you have a medical reason, that is the only exception to having a car on campus as a freshman. I believe that once you move off campus after your freshman year, then a car is essential for many different reasons.

One of the most important things to most college kids is the party scene and the burning desire to create a brand new social life and expand their horizons. Going out to parties and creating a new social life different from the one you had in high school is by all means an excellent thing to do, but the one thing that will pop up almost everywhere you go on the weekends is alcohol and endless amounts of it. Drinking and driving is among one of the worst things you can do yourself and everyone else around you, and it would be especially dangerous if you have a 330 horsepower Infiniti G37 to get you around from place to place. One of the biggest cons of having a car on campus is the temptation to drink and drive a wreak havoc throughout the city of Harrisonburg. Another downside of having a car on campus is the extreme sense of paranoia towards inebriated driving that your parents will develop. Another big part of college is becoming independent of your parents and allowing them to cut the strings to the apron, but if you have a car with you on campus then it is highly likely that they will consistently call and check up with you to ensure that your are not driving on the roads while being 8 shots deep of Bacardi. A car would be nice to get you to off campus parties over the weekends, but with that comes both the fear and suspicion of drinking and driving.

Despite the boundless hysteria of drinking and driving, there are many benefits to having a car on campus, especially after your freshman year. Most JMU freshman become progressively sick of dorm life and having to share rooms with strangers and share bathrooms that are treated worse than high school bathrooms, so by the end of the year they yearn to move to an off campus neighborhood. Having a car that runs is crucial to living off campus since you essentially turn into a commuter. Even though the bus system is considered a highly reliable and accredited source, it does get very old having to solely rely on the JMU transit system.  Despite the reliability of the bus system, you cannot always rely on the buses to arrive on time or to get you to your projected destination at the time you want. Although the buses save many poor souls from having to walk all the way to campus for classes, the bus is described by most students as being a very uncomfortable environment. “The bus sucks, I would give my left arm in order to have a car to get to and from campus with. Anything is better than the bus.” I can certainly relate to most students who hate on the bus because even though I’m a freshman who lives on campus without a car, I am not a big fan of the bus and prefer walking. Even though the bus saves a plethora of students from having to walk everywhere, they get very crowded very quickly and are usually exceed capacity with people being packed together like a pack of sardines. The very first thing that you normally see when you step onto the bus is that almost every seat is taken and there is very limited space for you to squeeze into the crowd and hang onto the top rail. Another thing to worry about when stepping onto the bus is quickly finding a spot to either sit or stand at or else you are at high risk of falling on your face the second the bus driver steps his foot on the accelerator. If you are one of those people who are very OCD about personal space, than the bus is definitely not for you because in order to take the bus to class everyday, you will have to become used to people sticking their elbows in your face and standing on top of your feet. Another downside of the bus system is that you normally will have to allot time out of your day to get to the bus stop on time. On the other hand, if you have a car with you, you will not have to take time out of your day in order to catch the bus. The final reason I believe the bus system to be counter-productive is due to the fact that if you for some reason miss the bus and do not have a car with you, than depending on the class or the professor it could potentially have ramifications towards your grade.


Here is a quick interview from a friend of mine named Ryan who is a freshman with a car on campus


Having a car down here at school is certainly the equivalent to having a magic carpet that will take you anywhere you need at any time you would like, but every rose most certainly has its thorn and in this particular instance the sharpest thorn on the stem is parking. No matter where you are, parking will always be a hassle, but when you have a place you need to be and something that counts towards your grade and attendance, then parking can potentially serve as a task of the impossible. It is also ironic that parking in college is much worse than parking in high school because the parking situation in college is first come first serve. I loved driving to school throughout my junior and senior years of high school but I the downside to it were all the below average drivers who would speed around in the parking lot. Even though you will find bad drivers everywhere you go, I though the issue would become better by the time I graduated and went off to college, but my friend Nathan who is a sophomore living in Pheasant Run say “Some of the drivers in the JMU parking lot are absolutely pitiful, its amazing that my car wasn’t totaled by the end of the first week of classes.” The bad drivers and the challenging parking situation are definitely two things that might make it tedious to have a car at school. “Even though you may have a little bit more time to leave in the morning, that might not last for very long due to the horrendous train wreck of finding a parking spot.” Even though having a car is very useful for living off campus, do not underestimate and do not be deceived by the parking situation; give it some time and it will become your worst enemy.  Make sure you also keep your eyes peeled and watch out for those who aren’t paying attention while behind the wheel of their vehicles.

In conclusion, a car is a great a thing for students to have once they move off campus. Having a car on campus as a freshman will only turn out to an extra burden for you and only add to the various freshman year stressors. Unless you have a medical condition then you could not only get away with having a car on campus, but it will also serve as a good purpose for you in order to make it Doctor appointments and pick up medications. Other then that, you will be able to survive and adjust to life without a car. You were able to do it for 16 years of your lives, so you are all more than capable of lasting about three to four months without having car to get you around from place to place. If you move off campus and for some reason do not have a car with you, then you have a valid reason to complain about why its such a hassle for you to get around.