What has 4 wheels (maybe 5? Depending on how you’re counting) and is currently parked in a driveway in suburban Massachusetts?
Probably a lot of things but the answer I was going for is my car.
I had my car, affectionately called The Bull, here over the summer to get me to and from my internship in Bethesda. Because I was working an hour away (though sometimes more than 2 with traffic #CommuterLife), having a set of wheels here was kind of a necessity.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a car here allowed to do more than just Business Things, such as spontaneous breakfasts in Fells Point, a trip to the Maryland State Fair, and weekly herdings of my friends to Giant to go grocery shopping.
My car stayed here through the first few weeks of the semester as well until my Dad came down to bring it back up to Massachusetts. Having experienced life both with and without a set of wheels here, I feel relatively okay with calling myself a de facto expert in this area and can reasonably say that having a car here has both its pros and cons.
Pro: Grocery shopping is a breeze.
Living off campus, I am responsible for “cooking” my meals (cooking is really just a lot of microwaving and pasta sorry Ina Garten). As such, having a car made it super easy to buzz up to Giant when it was time for my weekly restocking. During the semester, it takes a little more planning to do my hunting/ gathering, including scheduling Peapod deliveries, hopping in friends’ cars, or picking up a few items at a time from Hopdeli and Eddie’s market.
There’s a ton of free street parking around my apartment, which is really nice. But more than once, I would come back from work to find no spaces or temporary closures of where I usually parked, which was kind of annoying. I have friends who live in houses that come with a parking space behind their house or who purchase parking passes from the city but for me, finding a place to leave my car added a lil’ extra stress to my life.
Pro: Day Trips/ Weekend Trips To Otherwise Inaccessible Areas
Is anything reeeaalllllly inaccessible in this dan & age? Not really. Uber exists. Lyft exists. Baltimore has a ton of free busses and the MARC train gets you to DC in an hour. But over the summer I went hiking and to the Maryland State fair and this past weekend my friend Will (who has a car) and I drove down to Charlottesville, VA to visit JHU_Grace. Having a car this summer was no means a necessity and I definitely could have done all of that without one. But like I said, it made some things like that a liiiiittle bit easier.
Con: Gas. Insurance. Etc.
Y’know. ~Car Things~
tl;dr: Having a car can be nice but is no means a necessity, especially as an underclassman. Inevitably at least one friend will have one and Zipcar, Uber, and the likes are all helpful in a pinch.