Oberlin Blogs

Life Without a Car in Oberlin

April 13, 2020

Tim Martin ’22

Before I came to Oberlin I was living in Baltimore, Maryland, which is a city that has a lot of activity going on on a day to day basis. Oberlin is a lot different from Baltimore, as Oberlin is a small town where you can walk from place to place without any difficulty. Freshman year I didn’t have my driver’s license, so I rarely left campus outside of a few trips here and there. Sophomore year I attained my driver’s license right before coming to campus and signed up for the Enterprise Carshare program that allows you to rent a car that is on campus by the hour. Even after signing up for this program, I chose to stay on campus almost all of the time. This blog will break down my experience over the past two years without my own personal car. 

The fall of freshman year was a very busy time for me. Playing football while going to school is hard work, and I had a lot of late nights in the library and early mornings on the football field. When I had free time I just wanted to rest, I was not worried about going anywhere. Once the season ended I began feeling restless. While I loved being in Oberlin, I felt like I always had to be on the move. My partner ended up taking me to a movie off campus one night, and after that, I started feeling better. Oberlin has quite a few nice places to eat on campus, as well as a movie theater that plays the latest movies. For me, the want to leave campus was more about missing the city and the fast-paced environment than the entertainment aspect of it. Once I became more settled in with my schedule post-football I became very fond of the small-town life of Oberlin. I love going to a local restaurant and seeing familiar friendly faces and being able to walk late at night without worries. One thing that led to me leaving campus more often is my barber moving to another city. While there are other barbers in town, I stumbled upon one of the best shops in the area one day when I was off-campus and have been going there ever since. I consider my trip to the barbershop my monthly splurge and it always makes me happy to get a cut. 

Sophomore year I rarely left campus outside of getting my monthly haircut. Honestly, once you adjust to living at Oberlin you will love it. Oberlin always has wonderful programs like Winter Fest, where they build an ice skating rink on campus and hand out free food and beanies to all the students in attendance. The student body at Oberlin is like one big family and you never feel alone when you are on campus. Another reason not to worry about a car is you will be studying hard. Trust me, when midterms and finals hit, the only place you will want to go is to your favorite study spot!

If you are thinking about buying a car to bring with you to Oberlin I would encourage you to ask yourself what the purpose of the car will be. If it is to go get food and do fun things off campus, I wouldn’t suggest buying the car. There are great options for these things at Oberlin, and if you really feel the need to leave campus you can always rent a car for a few hours. Now, on the other hand, if you are looking to get an internship position in Cleveland and need transportation there, then I would tell you to go for it! A car is not a necessity at Oberlin, it is a luxury. Oberlin’s environment is more than enough to keep you happy all year long without you having to go anywhere!

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