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Kimberley Dodge profile

Kimberley Dodge

September 11, 2019

Owning a car Young driver stories 5 min read

The stress of A Levels is over; results day has come to pass; your extended summer is finally coming to a close and the dawn of university sits on the horizon. I and many other individuals my age are arriving at the time in our life where we finally fly the nest and take the first, shaky steps into becoming a (somewhat) independent and competent adult.

After receiving the exam results that I needed to be accepted into my chosen university, the flood gates suddenly opened and I was bombarded with emails, assaulted with shopping lists from my mother and surrounded by a torrent of decisions to make. One crucial decision that I was forced to face, was what was to be the fate of my beloved Fiat Punto.

To be or not to be

Anyone deciding whether or not to maintain their car whilst studying at university has to weigh up their own individual circumstances. Personally, having chosen to study at the University of Durham, nearly 200 miles from my hometown, travelling between the university and my home is more comfortable through the means of the direct train. Not to mention that there is basically no practical parking available in the city. Whilst this means hauling my luggage onto a train whenever I visit home, not taking my car with me to university is a more cost-effective and pragmatic decision. However, if you are attending a university close to where you currently live or are planning to commute, it may be an idea to travel to your chosen university by car if parking is available. This allows you to comfortably transport yourself (and all of your dirty washing no doubt) back home whenever you please. I recommend investigating train prices and the parking situation at your university before determining whether to take your car with you.

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Equally, many university cities are almost self-contained, meaning that anything and everything you need is only a stone’s throw away. In my case, everything is a 20-minute walk or 10-minute bike ride from my accommodation, and so using a car to get around would be almost pointless if not impossible in the city centre. However, these circumstances are also individual to each university, as some cities may be vastly spread out, or if you’re attending a campus university, the nearest town could be a fair distance away. These are all factors that need to be considered when deciding if it is a good idea to take your car to university with you, as, even if you do find that you are living far away from the closest supermarket or town centre, it still may be more practical to use public transport or, unfortunately for all you lazy folks out there, a bicycle. Although, a side note for you really lazy individuals out there, to avoid having to do any food shopping at all, just get your weekly provisions delivered to your door through the magical means of online shopping.

It’s what works best for you

Despite being resolute on not taking my car with me on my adventure up north, I have decided to maintain my car for use when I am at home. One of my main reasons for this is because I intend to work outside of term time to hopefully avoid the bottomless pit of student debt. Other reasons for keeping my car also include boredom prevention, insanity brought on by not being able to leave the house and a deep-seated hatred for public transport – but mainly because I want to get a job. Getting Student Car Insurance is another way to stop me from losing my mind during the holiday, and if the cost of keeping my own car becomes too much, I’ll seriously consider that, but for now I’ll try and keep my own car on the roads (or parked up until I’m home).

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Admittedly, maintaining a car comes at a pricey expense, an expense that seems to weigh even heavier on the pocket of your bank account with the looming cost of becoming a student. This is a serious condition of keeping a car that you have to evaluate, and if you simply cannot afford it and (like myself) you no longer have access to the bank of mum and dad, parting ways with your car may be the only sensible option. Not to mention, scrapping or selling your wheels may provide you with a boost in funds for your new independent living, NOT for spending all during freshers’ week.

Evidently, there are many significant factors that must be considered when contemplating the decision of whether to take or maintain your car during your university endeavours. Financial and practical details all require weighing up before determining what is best for your individual circumstances. Regardless, I hope this blog may assist you in making the right decision for yourself and I wish you the best of luck as we all begin to embark on the wobbly path towards adulthood.

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Make sure you pick up short term cover to get you behind the wheel when you're back from uni!

Kimberley Dodge profile

By Kimberley Dodge

'For me, driving means freedom. I passed my test a year ago and so I’ve been enjoying getting where I want, when I want. I’m now 18, so having my own car has given me a lot more independence: I no longer have to rely on the taxi of mum and dad!'  See more posts by Kimberley

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