High school students imagine themselves overpacking boxes of their stuff into the car they learned to drive in to take with them to college like the end scene of a coming-of-age film. And in the same way that real life doesn’t work out the same way as movies, leaving for college doesn’t need to be accompanied by your old beat car.
You don’t really need a car when you live on campus. Since freshmen are required to live on campus, a car would get in the way of making the most of their first year.
Living on campus, you are constantly in the center of all the action: classes, clubs, activities and traditions fill your time. Everything you could ever want or need is within walking distance from your dormitory. And if it’s not, one of your classmates would gladly give you a ride or apps, like Uber and Lyft, can help with your irregular trips outside of campus.
Taking advantage of these conveniences at your disposal now will help prepare you if you do move off campus for your sophomore, junior or even just your senior year. Starting college is overwhelming. Any major change in your life can seem unbearable different, whether you moved across the country or across the street to come to Baylor. But by limiting your distractions and stresses for your first year, the change will be more gradual as well as bearable.
Not having a car your freshman year will also limit your spending. Parking passes are expensive and so is the cost to maintain your car. The price of filling up on gas once a week, keeping your car clean and taking it to a mechanic every time a new light you don’t remember starts blinking begins to add up. All that money could have been spent on textbooks, savings or even (most importantly) food.
Most students fall into a trap where they think spending money on brunch, coffee and dinner is the only way they can get to know and spend time with friends. Because freshmen are required to have a meal plan while they live on campus, there really is no need to leave campus for meals with your friends. But staying on campus is always an option, especially when there is always some sort of club event or celebration occurring anywhere from dining halls to Fountain Mall.
Having limited transportation also forces students to make friendships and relationships with the people around them. With a car at their disposal, students would drive to H-E-B and grocery shop alone when they could be crowding a car with a bunch of new friends to buy snacks for their dorms. You learn how to be collaborative and work in a group setting to reach your goals, but you also make unique memories that you’ll reminisce about once you’re more independent and on your own.
On the plus side, one less car on the road means that there will be less car emissions polluting the environment–making Waco a much healthier place to live for everyone.
Even if you imagined starting college with a vehicle in tow, it might be a better idea to leave the car at home and save it for upcoming years.