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To drive or not to drive

Cassandra Mychalowycz

Here's a picture of the Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville.

For my social studies methods class, our final project is to create a geodiary about our community and it got me thinking about how my physical community broadened significantly after I got my car this year.  So, I realized that this could be an important blog post for prospective Vanderbilt students: do you bring a car to Vandy or not?  I’ve boiled all of my brainstorming down to a list of pros and cons:


  1. I can explore fun restaurants and locations in Nashville…Whether it’s a drive to East Nashville for Jeni’s ice cream or to the Bridgestone arena for a Taylor Swift concert (which I’ll be doing in September—more info on that later!), this is my number one car perk.
  2. I can interact more with students from other universities…Nashville is called the Athens of the South because of the large number of universities here.  What’s wrong with mingling?  I spend many of my days over at Lipscomb University because that’s where my boyfriend and several friends attend.
  3. I can go see mainstream movies…Freshman year I missed out on many different movies because I couldn’t drive and didn’t want to spend the money on a cab.  True, Vanderbilt provides a movie of the month and the Belcourt theatre has tons of rare indie movies, but sometimes you just want a good old Hollywood Blockbuster.
  4. I can drive myself and others to practicum…As a Peabody student, this suddenly makes you an indispensable asset to every class.
  5. There's a replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park (not far from campus) to commemorate Nashville's title of "Athens of the South".

    I can get to a grocery store…If you are not buying food on meal plan, Vanderbilt’s food can be pretty expensive and the nearest grocery store is about a mile away.  With my car (and more limited meal allowance), I can go to the grocery store whenever I find the need.


  1. Parking is expensive…Since Vanderbilt has so many students, they forbid freshmen from parking their cars on campus.  I had some friends who brought them and parked them elsewhere freshman year, but it was a hassle.  For the same reason, sophomores are highly encouraged to not bring their cars by having a larger bill than the rest of campus.
  2. Parking is far away… No matter where you park your car, you can be sure it’s a farther walk than you’d expect.  Because I didn’t get my permit until partway through the semester (I bought my car in October), I had to park in Kensington Garage, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from my dorm.
  3. I have to pay for gas…Oftentimes if you really need to get somewhere off-campus, there are others who suffer through the cons to keep their cars.  That means that you could really just hitch a ride and not have to pay for gas.  Who needs to spend that extra money?

This is the garage where I park on campus

Overall, I’m glad that I brought my car to Vanderbilt and love the freedom it gives me to decide where I go and exactly how much time I spend in the Vanderbubble (which is probably why my list of pros outweighs the cons).  However, I also had the added pressure of my family living in Switzerland to back my decision.  Since they’re abroad, I have no family car to bring me up north at the end of the semester or a way to get to work during that time.  So, I totally understand people who want to tough it out for a few years and simply hitch rides. :)

…Until next time!

  • Heidi Boulden

    Hello! How much are permits for sophomores and upper classmen then? Also, what locations do freshmen park their cars?

    • Cassandra Mychajlowycz

      My sophomore permit costs $130 per month. I do not actually know how much it costs to park as an upperclassman. I can ask one of my friends and get back to you if you’re still interested in finding out? As for freshmen, I know that there are several parking garages downtown that sell monthly permits. There are also some hotels relatively near campus that would allow you to pay monthly, but they would be pricey.

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