When looking for a college, most high school students are always interested in knowing if they can have a car or not freshman year. Well for me, that wasn’t a problem. I’m wrapping up my junior year in college and I still don’t have a car…or my license.
I know, I know — it sounds crazy. But driving just makes me an anxious person and I hate it. I understand I’m going to have to take my road test one day, but I just can’t get myself to do it quite yet. (Maybe I’ll get it this summer though. If I write it down and you all read it, I’ll feel the need to make it happen, right?)
But not having a car in college isn’t all bad. I’ve learned to make it work. And there’s actually some positives! You don’t have to worry about paying for gas, filling your gas tank in the cold, paying for a parking permit, walking to your car or clearing the snow off your car and digging it out (Although I suggest helping with the snow clearing if you’re relying on someone else).
I’ve never been the type of person who has to go somewhere unless it’s an extreme circumstance, so not being able to get off campus doesn’t really bother me. However, if you are a person who is constantly on-the-go but don’t have access to your own car, there are options!
Make friends with people with cars!
Most of my friends have cars on campus, so we normally have a weekly grocery trip. I stock up on everything I need then and make sure to plan out my list if I know a trip is coming soon. I know most schools don’t allow freshmen to have cars, but there likely is an upperclassmen or even a professor you can get to know who does. I know it’s awkward to ask, but if you really need something, you have to do it.
Your campus probably offers its own transportation services.
Most schools know it’s hard to get off campus sometimes and give you options to make it easier for you. At St. John Fisher, there’s a shuttle that runs numerous times a week to places like the local mall or Wegmans (our local grocery store). Take advantage of this and plan your trips around the schedule. Riding with other people in the same boat as you will give you something to talk about. You might just make some new friends this way!
There’s always public transportation.
Most colleges offer a discount on the local transit systems. It may seem scary and overwhelming at first because of the different lines and schedules, but you’ll become a pro soon enough. Talk to someone in your campus center or security about how to use the public transportation.
The biggest issue can come when you are required to go off-campus. The only time I’ve run into trouble is when it comes to internships. When I was planning my internship for this semester, I wanted one so bad, but not having a license really messed things up. I knew I either had to rely on public transportation or someone else. I was extremely stressed. It ended up working out though, as I arranged to get rides from my adviser.
Similarly, many classes at Fisher (and likely at other schools too) have field trips or require you to be off-campus instead of in the classroom. If you aren’t able to drive to these events, it can be difficult to find a way to get there. Carpooling can often be the best option but if you aren’t driving, make sure you pitch in for gas!
So, my overall advice for you when it comes to not having a car is to just learn to manage. I’ve been in moods where I just want to get off campus, but that’s when I call my mom or my boyfriend and say, “Hey, come visit!” Or you can plan a “staycation” and turn off your lights, forget about homework and just watch some Netflix. But if you absolutely need to get off campus for something, just remember there are a lot of options at your disposal, you just have to know about them and use them!
Written by Emily Mein. Emily attends St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. Sharing information or a person’s story with people is why she loves writing. She can never get enough of Twitter, pasta and Syracuse basketball.