I think everyone can agree that there is no better freedom than when you finally own your own car. From the age of 17, most people are rushing to their driving lessons after school with the smell of liberation in the air as their driving tests near. However, after all the joys of passing your test, having your first car and bathing in the knowledge you can drive anywhere at any time – you’re hit with the inevitable question of: should I bring my car to University? Now, the most common answer you’re probably told is ‘no’, but there are so many different factors that you should consider before handing your keys to your parents and leaving your wheels behind. So, I’ve put together a short list of pros and cons that might help you decide when it comes to September.
1. Shopping: I struggled a lot in my first year with attempting to carry my weekly shop home from Tesco’s. Often it resulted in me desperately calling my flat mates to come help because I bought way too much pasta that even The Hulk couldn’t lift it. Having a car at hand means shopping is a thousand times easier. You can always online shop but I find that I end up buying a lot of random things I do not need due to the minimum spend policy you must meet to have your shopping delivered.
2. Part-time Work: if you want to find part-time work at University, you do not have to stress about just looking within walking distance.
3. Going home: I go home a lot more once I bought my car to University. It’s easier to just whack your bags into the boot and quickly get on the road as compared to having to book a train and haul your things to Cardiff Central, etc. So, it’s something to consider if you’ll want to be going home a lot.
4. Visiting friends: as well as going home, you’ll find you’ll go and visit your friends at different universities a lot more. There is nothing more fun than a cheeky road trip full of eye-spy, iced coffee and a weekend ahead full of fun.
5. Visiting different places: you can visit different places within Cardiff and around it like Barry Island or Pen Y Fan.
6. Sports: if you’re in a sports team/society, you’ll find you do away games.
1. Cost: it is evidently going to cost a lot of money to keep filling your tank up and the general cost of running a car. Of course, as a student, this probably isn’t going to be the easiest thing in the world. You’ll need to factor in whether you could genuinely afford to run a car, or how much you’ll be using it for that money to be worth it.
2. Parking: parking in Cardiff, is in all honesty, a nightmare. My car is currently parked in residential parking (for which you’ll need to get a permit – more expenses!) and sometimes it’s difficult to even guarantee I’ll ever get a space on my road. This has been easily the most frustrating element of bringing a car to University.
3. Lifts: you’ll inevitably be asking for lifts everywhere! Train station, shops, University, McDonalds – you name it, you’ll be asked!
4. Everything is in walking distance anyway: everything in Cardiff is mostly in walking distance anyway. So unless you do have a job that is going to be further away, you’ll find you won’t be needing it that much at all!
5. Alternative travel: Cardiff offers lots of different alternative travel options anyway. Trains run frequently throughout Cardiff and go pretty much everywhere. With a 16-25 railcard, you can save up to a third on all your tickets!
So, there are a lot of different things to consider when bringing your car to University. You may want to spend first year without a car and see how you manage and then debate about bringing it for second year. Some people bring their cars back after Easter semester only, so it’ll be easier to move out after exams. In the end, whatever you choose, there will be pros and cons, as with most things in life!
Good luck and safe travels everyone 😊