Learning to drive at uni

Learning to drive requires a lot of time and money, and it can be difficult to know whether or not such an investment is worth making. Besides, it is impossible to know if having a license will be of value in the future.

According to whatcar.com, the cost for a provisional licence, tests, and the recommended amount of lessons totals £1247. It is certainly no easy decision to say goodbye to such an amount of money. What’s more, these expenses might not see a pay-off for years, if at all, because car ownership may not be practical until years after graduation.

Public transport can be sufficient enough in most major cities, so it largely comes down to where you end up living and working. Even if buying a car while at university is feasible, the tax, petrol, and maintenance will provide a continually significant drain to any student’s bank account, and one that ultimately might not be worth it.

In Norwich, the buses are infamous for having poor services, so having a car is tempting just for the prospect of no longer being at their mercy. That said, a bus will turn up eventually, and the charge is insignificant compared to the cumulative expenses of owning and using a car. Plus, parking in the city centre can end up being such a hassle that buses actually become more straightforward.

On the other hand, the freedom that arises from owning a car is extremely enticing. For example, it allows for excursions to properly explore Norfolk – a rarity for many students. Trains are adequate enough to get to places such as Cromer or Great Yarmouth but having the opportunity to seek your own path through the Broads is hard to turn down. What’s more, being able to fill a car with a bulk buy from Aldi undoubtedly helps to save money on groceries.

At university most students will have many free hours each week, so term-time is the perfect period to fit in driving lessons. Going into full-time work after graduation will make it challenging to find suitable and regular slots for lessons, and for some people, it’s not exactly the ideal way to spend precious free time.

There is also the simple matter of confidence: passing earlier means that individuals have more experience driving and therefore find it less daunting to head out onto the road.

One student who learnt how to drive at university told Concrete: “It’s a good thing to have on my CV and I’m glad to get it out of the way now rather than waiting until I’m working 9-5.”

Learning at university instead of at home does come with some obstacles: finding a reliable instructor in a new city is challenging and being on unfamiliar streets puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to the practical test.

Ultimately, the prospective benefits of knowing how to drive are different for each individual and the situation which they find themselves in the future. Having a clean licence can be an invaluable addition to a CV and some organisations might even push for their employees to know how to drive in order to better perform important tasks such as meeting clients.


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April 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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