Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor
There is a wonderful feeling we get the first time we see a shiny new piece of plastic that officially states: I can drive! We all know we can drive; the real issue is should we? With gas prices, insurance, parking passes and car payments, it may be cost worthy to hold off on driving a little longer.
I know that the allure of having a car is really strong. I can drive home on the weekends to see mom and dad, I can go places I couldn’t before, and a car gives me FREEDOM! But is that such a good idea? I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m home, I know I have a hard time focusing, studying, and just plain getting my stuff done. There are just too many people to see and things to do with so so little time. Driving home almost every other weekend may not be the best idea. I’m not saying don’t ever go home, but perhaps leaving the pick-ups and drop offs to mom and dad will help the decision of when to go home.
Think you can’t go anywhere without a car? Think again, there are bus routes all around Purdue’s campus and Greater Lafayette. The best part students ride for free just by showing the driver their Purdue ID and gas to drive yourself… not so free. Gas prices are higher than ever before. And let’s be honest, most students don’t have cars with the best gas mileage. Aside from the busses, there is also the option to use Zipcar here on campus. Zipcar lets you drive for a desired time period, gas included, and then you return it, for a small fee of course. It’s like renting a car for a few hours. For travel destinations farther off campus, check out “Chicago
Getaway Transportation” to see different options available to Purdue University students.
Then, for us less fortunate students, there are financial matters of paying for a car. You could purchase a newer car, but this often comes with car payments since most students don’t have tens of thousands of dollars. Then there is the option of buying an older car outright, but an older car may come with some costly problems
as cars do require regular maintenance from time to time. Financial aid can pay for a car though right? Sorry, but that’s not the case. That’s one of the things the Feds say Financial Aid cannot cover, even if you take out a student loan! So when looking into buying a car, all expenses are on you.
Last but not least, I haven’t even mentioned the cost of plating the car, insurance, or campus parking passes. It starts to add up pretty quickly. There is a counter argument though: I live off campus, I have a job, and I NEED a car! You may really WANT a car, but can you afford it? Instead, consider looking at the bus schedule and working with it. It could really save you money (think about all the car expenses listed above). You also have the option of carpooling and splitting the gas.
Point being, there are ways to make it work. Waiting just a longer to have that dream ride may be worth it in the long end