How to Survive at UCF Without a Car

Her Campus

Originally published on April 18th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

So you got into your dream college, and you can’t wait to escape your hometown and curfew. Moving away from home, making new friends, and learning how to live independently are all exciting adventures that await your future, and you can’t wait to learn! You’ve packed up your clothes and your favorite photos of your besties, but one thing missing from your college survival kit: the freedom of transportation. If you’re moving away from home and realizing you’ll no longer have access to borrowing your parent’s car 24/7, don’t sweat it, I promise you will survive!

I’ve spent the past two years at UCF without a car, and I’ve compiled my best tips to help you get around without that fresh set of wheels that are missing from your dream.

Live On Campus

You might have your heart set on the luxurious, yet bank-breaking, apartments a few miles down the road from campus, but living at school had its perks. Other than being able to walk everywhere you need to go, you’ll be able to make friends with the residents in your building, and be able to sleep in extra 30 minutes before class. I spent my freshman year living in Lake Claire, and it was one of the best places for me to walk to class every day. UCF has a huge campus that acts as a mini-city, and I was able to do and see so much without ever having to leave. But when we can’t stay here forever, there are other options available.

Take the Shuttles

The shuttles are a gem that don’t get the recognition they deserve. UCF shuttles are free and run to all different parts of Orlando. Need to get groceries? Head on the grocery shuttle that comes every Tuesday to stock up on your favorite snacks. Want to go to Disney? Take the shuttle that runs to the Rosen campus, and your Über from there will only be around $10. Want to grab a bite to eat off campus? Take the different apartment route shuttles that drop off near restaurants, such as Plaza and Colligate Village Inn. Plus if you DO live off campus without a car (currently me), you’ll already be a pro at knowing how they operate.

Be Nice to Your Roommates

If you build up a strong bond with your roommates, I guarantee they will offer to drive you places in times of need. But make sure to hit them with some gas money as a thank you for their favor.

When All Else Fails, Über

What a great age it is that we are now encouraged to go against our parent’s wishes of getting in a car with a stranger. Yet Über and Lyft are powerful tools that will get you where you need to be, without the hassle. UCF even offers 50% off rides Friday and Saturday (k)nights to make sure we stay safe!

Being car-less might seem to be the biggest inconvenience out there, but it has humbled me to think outside the box when it comes to getting around. Remember that when the glorious moment comes that you do get a car of your own, be sure to pay back all your friends in the form of rides to thank them for putting up with you the past couple of semesters.

xoxo,

Sophomore Year Recap

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And just like that, I’m halfway done with my undergraduate career here at UCF. Wait, what? Where did the time go? Honestly, I wish I knew so that I could tell it to stop, take a breath and slow down. It feels like just last week I left Pittsburgh and jumped into my life here in Orlando, but that fact that we are coming up on my two year anniversary of moving here is absolutely bonkers. Yet sophomore year flew by faster than I could have ever imagined.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that my I spent my fall semester interning at Walt Disney World as a participant in the Disney College Program. With that under my belt, the first semester of my sophomore year flew by. Upon being reenrolled as a student at UCF, I wasn’t expecting the next four months to occur in the blink of an eye.

I started out the semester strong, maybe too strong. I enrolled in 19 credit hours because I clearly enjoy making myself suffer. The average for students here is 15 credit hours per semester, and most opt to take 12. The maximum you’re even allowed to take is 17, so why I thought to override all the rules to take 19 was a good idea is beyond me. But I had to make up for spending a semester riding rollercoasters, so six in-person lectures and one cooking lab it was.

After a five-month hiatus from learning, it was time to kick it into high gear and take this semester by storm, all while getting adjusted to new living habits and extracurriculars. Three days before the semester began, I moved into my first big girl apartment, with my own bedroom and bathroom (!!!). I decorated to my heart’s content and renewed my lease so it will be my permanent home in Orlando at least until July 2019, if not longer.

Living near campus again meant I was finally able to get back into the swing of things with my extracurriculars, Campus Activities Board, and Her Campus. As a member of Her Campus UCF’s executive board, I was really able to let my leadership flourish this year. By the end of the semester, I was even appointed to be next year’s president and co-campus correspondent. I am beyond excited to lead my favorite organization down a path of success, as it has been one of my goals since my very first meeting freshman year.

After so many great things began happening to me here in Orlando, it was my mission to find a way to stay here through the summer. Thus, the job hunt began. Fortunately, I discovered an incredible internship opportunity early on in the semester to apply for. I spent a few months applying and going through multiple interviews before hearing the amazing news that I earned one of only two positions available. So this summer I will be working as a LEAD Intern for Bluegreen Vacations, a timeshare resort company, at their Orlando resort, The Fountains. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work in hotels and resorts, as it’s been one of my main goals within the hospitality industry. This program will give me the opportunity to rotate between six or seven different positions in the hotel, to learn what I have a liking towards so I can prepare for a management internship in that role. On top of that, the resort had discovered my writing and knack for social marketing and asked if I could work on doing some of that for their website, and of course, I was beyond excited to be offered the opportunity to combine two of my passions into one.

And a full-time job in Orlando means I needed to begin the car search so I could actually get to work each day. So thus began the stressful process that was buying a car in Florida, while my parents were still in Pennsylvania. But we survived, and I now have a beautiful baby girl to drive around town in, and I finally feel like I’ve made this city my new home.

So this semester consisted of murdering my sanity with way too many classes, working extra hard on extracurriculars, and becoming a real-life grown up. Too much adulting, if you ask me, but it had to be done. My social life? Hah, yeah it was basically non-existent, as you can tell, but taking a semester to advance and improve myself, was much needed, and will ensure a future full of opportunity down here.

I’m looking forward to a blistering hot summer like no other, and for it to go by as slooooowly as possible because the thought of being a junior in college is enough to make me want to puke. But if time has to move so quickly, I’m just overjoyed that I found the perfect place to live it in.

xoxo,

The Freedom of Four Wheels

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Who would have thought running errands was something I’d soon take for granted? In high school, I was lucky enough to be my family’s personal errand runner and an eager one at that. Hopping in the car to pick up some veggies for dinner, meant 30 minutes of freedom that I never thought would be something I cherished.

Flash forward to starting college, when I shipped myself across the country with no friends and no car, and somehow tried to make things work. Not to toot my own horn, but I survived pretty successfully too. It was definitely difficult to live my life without the luxury of a car, but thanks to some reliable friends and my part-time chauffeur, otherwise known as my boyfriend, I was able to make it work.

Yet all I did was make it work. I was able to get groceries when needed. I had someone take me to the mall if I needed clothes for school. I became a pro at finding Lyft and Uber discount codes. But what I wasn’t able to do without a car, was be free.

Sure, my friends were always around to help me out when I needed to be dropped off somewhere, but I lost that independence that I took for granted when I was able to drive myself places. I couldn’t apply for my number one job choice. I couldn’t sign up to volunteer at events that would boost my resume. I couldn’t grab an ice cream cone when I was feeling down. I always had to cater my schedule around someone else’s, and I even experienced a tinge of guilt, always asking the same people for rides.

Yet getting a car isn’t as easy as walking into the store and buying one. My family and I had been working on this process for what felt like years. And it was a long time coming, but this past week, I was finally able to drive home my newest found freedom, in the form of a 2018 Honda Fit.

Ever since moving to Orlando, I knew how important having a car would be, and how much it would be able to improve my future, be it with reliable transportation to new job opportunities, or the availability to always go above and beyond in volunteering to drive for my different organizations.

This past week, I’ve been able to gain back that independance that I’ve missed so much, and it’s incredible to believe that I finally have a car of my own.

I’m so excited to keep on growing down here in Florida, and this car is just a small step towards my success. I am so grateful that the time has finally come that this dream has become a reality, and of course blessed that I can swing through the Taco Bell drive-thru any time I want.

This new baby, that I have graciously named Luna, and I are prepared to make some memories, thanks to our newfound freedom, and the future ahead of us is an open road.

xoxo,