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Freshmen should be allowed to drive to school and park on campus.

For a rising college freshman, the first year of university life can be the most exciting. Meeting new people and experiencing different events and the freedom of living on your own for the first time are just a few of the opportunities  college has to offer. However, that freedom can be limited for some freshmen. At many universities, including JMU, having a car on campus is a luxury for only upperclassmen, forcing freshmen to find other modes of transportation. 

This can be difficult for freshmen to adjust to since most of them have been driving for about two to three years before arriving on campus. Teenagers work hard to achieve their license at sixteen, and to have the privilege of driving and having a vehicle taken away in the first year of college can be disappointing for many. At JMU, freshmen aren’t allowed to have cars on campus during their first year; exceptions are only for certain circumstances, but it’s unlikely that a freshman would have the same parking privileges as an upperclassman.

With a car, students don’t have to worry whether or not they’ll get to class on time. If a freshman has to stock up on groceries or supplies for a week, they normally have to plan out what time the bus will pick them up or drop them off. Walking to certain places can be a hassle if they’re far away from a student’s residence hall or if they have health problems that make it harder for them to travel to their needed destinations.

During one’s freshman year, it’s most likely that homesickness will occur during parts of the semester. Along with breaks, returning home for a weekend can be refreshing for all students after a hard week, though the ability to return home freely may be limited because of COVID-19. Still, it can be difficult for freshmen to go home whenever they want without having a car.

Some students go from the beginning of the semester to Thanksgiving break without ever going home, which can impact one’s mental health. Many students that attend JMU are from different states, making it much harder for them to receive a ride home. With a car on campus, freshmen could return home whenever they please, letting them enjoy a weekend home with family and friends without the stress of school. 

Bringing a car to campus isn’t just a luxury, but it’s also a right to safety. With many college activities and functions being hosted at night, freshmen are unable to travel back to their residence without either receiving a ride from a friend or having to walk in the dark, with buses running less frequently at night. This can raise serious safety concerns for a young college student walking home at night with not many people around. 

Overall, the right to having a car on campus shouldn’t be limited only for upperclassmen. College is supposed to give students a sense of freedom when first arriving, and the denial of being allowed to have a car should be changed for future classes. 

Kylee Toland is a junior Media Arts and Design major. Contact Kylee at tolandkm@dukes.jmu.edu