Written by Jennifer To (PEACE Advising Chair Intern)
There are certainly many benefits to owning a car, from quickly driving to get groceries for the week rather than carrying all your bags back home, to driving to a mini-vacation to somewhere nearby for the long weekend. If you work or volunteer somewhere off campus, you can also easily commute to and from work without the hassle of taking other forms of transportation.
While there are so many positives to bringing a car to college, I personally think that there also many negatives. First and foremost is finding parking. Although your apartment may have parking spots available, the managers will often take quite a chunk out of your wallet every month (might I also add that these parking spots are not the most spacious…). If these private parking spots are too costly, there is also an option to get street parking, which costs significantly less per month. However, there are certain parts of Berkeley that can get pretty dangerous at times, and there have been numerous incidents where cars were damaged or robbed into overnight. Another thought to think about is that if you are driving to work, you will often have to worry about finding a vacant parking space that isn’t too far from your desired location. It is often very difficult to find parking during normal work hours; not only that, but you will also have to pay additional money for the parking meter, some that may even charge a ridiculous amount. In addition, gas these days are not light on the wallet either. As a result, all these costs will add up quite a lot.
Many college students may not have the capability to pay for all these expenses in addition to paying for their tuition or housing, so it is important to think about both the positives and negatives of owning a car. For me, the negatives overall had more weight in my decision, and I decided that bringing a car would have been more of a hassle. I did not mind taking the extra time taking public transportation or walking to all my extracurricular activities. However, in the end, it really depends on what your personal schedule is like and if having a car will be a benefit or a hassle.