Life without a license

By Magdalayna Drivas | Reporter

Like many other out-of-state students, I don’t have a car on campus. I don’t have a car at all. In fact, I don’t even have my driver’s license.

People stand in shock when I tell them that I, at 20 years old, don’t know how to drive a car. They wonder how I can survive without a license and tell me that driving is really not that hard. People often assume I am either lazy, stupid or both to not have my license by now.

I am not incapable of driving. I understand the rules of the road and in my limited practice, have proven to be a good driver. What people often forget is that driving a car is a privilege that not all are lucky enough to have.

My parents could never find the time to teach me how to drive between working full-time jobs and running four busy kids around. The impending cost of college made driving lessons a luxury I could never afford in high school. Factoring in the cost of a car once I finally do get my license pushes driving further out of my reality.

But I could just work to have the money for driving lessons and a car, couldn’t I? Having to mark on job applications that I do not have a reliable ride to work almost automatically removes me from consideration. Between class, studying and extracurriculars, the shifts I am available to work are limited as it is.

Freshman year I worked the graveyard shift as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant. I walked across the Interstate-35 pedestrian bridge by myself at 2 a.m. on school nights, avoiding cat callers on the street as I walked back to my dorm. Soon enough, I realized making minimum wage to save up for a car wasn’t worth sleepless nights smelling like hamburgers.

Even if I could afford lessons, trying to get my license while halfway across the country from my hometown is practically impossible. I am not a Texas resident and cannot get a Texas driver’s license, and being in my home state for only four weeks out of the year gives me little time to learn how to drive while home. Besides, I hope to spend Christmas break with friends and family, not waiting for my number to be called at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I don’t mind not having a car. I know I will need one in the “real world” and I can’t get away with bumming rides from my friends forever. I am fortunate enough to have great roommates who will drive me to the grocery store and to doctor’s appointments when I need it.

I enjoy the extra time to myself on my walks to class. I enjoy meeting new people on the bus. I definitely enjoy not having to pay for gas or monthly car payments. While life without a license is difficult, it is not impossible. The next time you’re behind the wheel of your car, be grateful; I hope to share that same privilege someday.