When I moved to campus, I had a lot of decisions to make. Who my roommate was, where we were going to live, and what meal plan I wanted. But I don’t think that I took any of them as seriously as I did the decision of whether or not to bring my car to campus. While I didn’t have anyone to give me advice, I decided to bring it to campus, and I’m really glad that I did. Of course, having a car on campus isn’t all good, so here are the pros and cons of having your car on campus.
Pro: You can go off campus whenever you want
I know that this one seems obvious, but it really is a huge plus. Because you have your own car, you don’t have to worry about relying on your friends or the shuttles or any other public transportation to get around. This means that if you need to go to the store to pick something up, you can just go. You don’t have to worry about anything except your own schedule.
Con: You chauffeur your friends around
There is inevitably going to be at least one friend who doesn’t have a car who you will end up driving around to do errands. Or, because you don’t want to take five cars instead of just one, you might even drive around some of your friends who do have cars. It isn’t that bad honestly and can be a lot of fun, but it is something to keep in mind. Are you okay with having people asking you for rides all the time?
Pro: You can try food in Rochester
Don’t get me wrong, RIT has good food, and there is a wide variety on campus that allows you to switch up what you’re eating. But every once in a while, it’s nice to get food from somewhere else, and to try something new, something which Rochester has plenty to offer. Whether you want a brunch place, BBQ, or a fancy restaurant, Rochester has it all, and having your own car means trying things that you won’t be able to anywhere else.
Con: You have to pay for gas
I am as brutally aware as the next person that gas is not cheap right now. Depending on how much you drive, and the car that you have, it can get really expensive driving around all the time. However, if you have friends drive you around, they might ask for you to pay for their food, their ticket, or even just for gas, so you might end up paying for the gas anyways.
Pro: It makes it way easier to go home
While it is a relatively long drive for me to get back home (7 hours give or take), having my own car makes it way easier to get home, and speaking for some of my friends, it makes it way easier for them as well. If you don’t have a car you have to rely on friends who live near you, or who can drive you to the airport if you live really far away, or even in some cases, on your family to come and pick you up. But if you have your own car, you can just pack up and leave, you don’t have to worry about making all these arrangements for traveling.
Yes, you have to pay to park on campus. When I was looking at schools, parking passes were one of the things that I compared and RIT was the cheapest by far. Sometimes your parking pass is for a lot that is a little further away from your dorm than you may like, but most of them are just a few minutes' walk away from the door. I also have yet to have actual issues finding a spot to park in my lot, and it just takes a bit of luck to get a spot close to the doors.
Pro: Better control over your emotional health
I learned pretty quickly after getting here that my emotional and mental health is greatly tied to my ability to go places or even just go for a drive. I had friends who learned the same thing, but they learned because they didn’t have cars, so I consider myself really lucky. Being able to get off campus, even if you don’t go anywhere in particular, even if you are just going for a drive, is seriously a mental health saver. This might not be a pro for everyone, but it definitely is for me.
Con: The cold
Because we are in Rochester, New York, and pretty close to a great lake, it can get cold, and we can get some snow. So you do have to actually scrape your car off before you can drive in the winter, and it can be a little cold when you first get in. This may be less of an issue for some people, but for me, it can be a little annoying to have to allot extra time to go anywhere.
Ultimately, having a car on campus isn’t for everyone. It’s the same way that some of the pros that I listed might not be a pro for other people. I know some people who are perfectly happy without cars on campus. But I am so extremely grateful to have my car with me, and I know that I made the right decision for me.