For those of you who will be living on campus, you’re about to discover the cost of living and find a new level of appreciation for everything your parents have done and are doing for you. The way most parents arrange with their university-goers is by covering their rent and providing them with an allowance for the essentials. All other costs are your responsibility.
Now, at this point, you might be lucky enough to have a car of your own or be in a position to finance a pre-owned car with a warranty for yourself. Your only hesitation is whether you’ll be needing one if you’re living on campus anyway. If you can walk to class, why do you need a car? Why can’t you sell your car (with your parent’s permission if they bought it for you) and put the pre-owned car amount towards your rent?
These might seem like good ideas but, before you decide, you need to consider all the reasons why you would, in fact, need a car even when you live on campus. And you don’t need a large or expensive vehicle, pre-owned cars come in all shapes and sizes and you only need one that is reliable and affordable – both can be found in a car from a pre-owned dealership.
Yes, the point of living on campus is to walk everywhere, promote a greener society and get your 10 000 daily steps goal on your fitness watch. But what about those days when you want to go out and explore, need to visit a neighbouring campus for an event, have sports practice, want to meet up with some old friends or need to go home for the weekend? (We all have those stressed out moments where being able to go home is a great comfort).
In those moments you’ll wish you had your own car instead of having to rely on unreliable public transport, begging your friends on social media for a lift or having to call your parents to come out and pick you up.
A car of your own means you can be independent and do the things you want to do without having to think twice about it. If you’re tired of what the student zone has to offer, you can hop into your car and visit the next town with a larger mall. You don’t need to use your car every day just because it’s there (just often enough to keep the car battery operational), but at least you’ll have the option to use it whenever you need or feel like it.
When you have a car with you on campus, you’re allowing yourself the opportunity to take on a part-time job. There won’t always be work opportunities close enough to campus, especially considering that there are thousands of other students who are also looking for work. For that reason, you might need to extend the range of your search which can easily be done with your wheels. And having your own transport will also be an attractive hiring feature on your CV.
Remember that allowance we mentioned? Without a part-time job, you aren’t going to have much money to go out and socialise with. Your student life will literally consist of going to class, studying, working, paying off your car (which a job would help with) and grocery shopping. Now, that isn’t quite the student experience you imagined, is it?
It would also be in your best interest to have a vehicle on hand for safety reasons. Walking around campus at night after a late study session or even a night out isn’t the safest situation to be in.
Your car won’t make you a vulnerable target and you also won’t need to feel uncomfortable catching a lift home with a driver who is over the legal limit. Your car helps you take control of your safety. Not to mention that it will come in handy on the days when it’s pouring down with rain and you’d rather not be sitting in a lecture, soaking wet.
What happens after college?
Another reason to keep or finance that pre-owned car while you’re living on campus is so that you have something to take with you into the adult world. Not having to worry about having a car to take yourself to interviews and your new job or internship programme will be a great relief when you leave college.
University is only a few years of your life and your car can last for those years and more, which will save you that large expense when you’re trying to fend for yourself without your parents’ help this time. And then, one day you can trade in that trusty student vehicle of yours for a larger SUV to accommodate your family.