I remember turning 17 and thinking that having a car would be the true key to my freedom, no longer relying on my mum or brother for constant lifts to the train station. Pair that with living in a village with an hourly bus that stopped running at 6pm, I was eager to be out on the road myself.
If this resonates with you, you’ll be thinking about getting a car. Whilst I am glad I can drive, and do find having a car useful, especially when I do return home for a couple of weeks, I probably should have held off on buying the actual car.
I originally learnt to drive during sixth form, even getting to the point of taking the exam routes. However, due to failing my theory twice and being a stubborn teen, I held off taking the test again out of frustration. This along with my pending exams meant that I ended up starting university without a license. During my first year I could barely afford food let alone some refresher lessons/practical exam, so it was left until my second year meaning I needed a lot more than a few refresher lessons. At this point, having taken lessons, both tests, bought and insured a car, I can confidently say that having a big bank of savings is a must. Luckily I did have money saved, but my issue was I just had enough for everything, and ended up cleaning out my savings in the end.
Getting a car before starting placement was always a must for me, but having picked a house share walking distance from my office due to losing out on a studio flat, it’s not being used as often as it seems worth it. Of course if I had taken a different house and taken buses to begin with, this wouldn’t have been a problem. The main thing I consider is returning to university next year. If your student house/halls are right by your lectures halls and near enough to the town centre, you know getting around without a car is already simple enough.
In our position, I think it would be beneficial to learn how to drive and have a license, especially when applying to graduate roles that require flexible employees and would also see you up and moving to a new area. My main use for my car is travelling a bit further out of town, to go home or see friends, so a use like that in future is also seeming likely.