Imagine you’re running late to class, didn’t finish studying, could potentially miss a quiz and on top of that, you can’t seem to find a parking spot.
This isn’t far from reality, as it seems like every day I hear another student complain about campus parking—it has been a common topic of conversation and a tedious task for most.
Weighing all my pros and cons, I came to the conclusion before this semester that I wasn’t going to deal with it any longer. I convinced myself not to waste my time or money on added stress and inconvenience.
I made a decision—I turned to my friendly neighborhood Uber drivers to help save the day.
Although Ubering may not be ideal for many since UH is a commuter school, for someone like me that lives downtown, it’s a match made in heaven.
Not only do I live a few miles away from campus, but I also work full-time in the same area—a regular office day job every weekday.
I typically walk to work—because parking downtown is impractical—and although I’m also a full-time student, I only go to campus a couple times a week since most of my classes are online.
So, to be frank, who would want to pay for a campus parking permit if you’re only on campus twice a week for an hour? It’s like when you buy an expensive “required” textbook for a class and use it twice during the semester—pointless and annoying.
And, although you might think Ubering all the time makes a significant dent in your bank account, it’s actually more affordable than it seems.
There are about 16 weeks in the semester, and I went to class twice a week. Eliminating holidays and days where class was cancelled, I had about 24 times where I had to go to class. This means I averaged out to 48 Uber rides (to and from class) during the semester.
Because I had class during rush hour, prices could occasionally surge, therefore an average ride was typically between $7-9. Putting all this into consideration, the total average I spent on Uber this semester is $384. The 2016-2017 student permit parking price for a semester in a garage is $310.
Yes, I spend more by Ubering, but I get picked up right outside my office, and get dropped off right in front of the building where I have class. I don’t have to leave work 30 minutes earlier to go get my car and try to find parking before walking to class.
Also, each Uber ride you pay separately. When you pay a certain amount a week, each week during the semester, it doesn’t really feel like that much—kind of like paying off a phone with your mobile carrier
I use the time I’m in the Uber to look over notes before class, have a snack, or even mentally recharge myself between work and school.
Another plus is that I don’t have to stress about the weather as much. This includes potentially fainting from heat exhaustion, getting my clothes or books wet if it’s raining, or catching a cold from being outside on chilly, windy days.
I’m also much safer. I eliminate the possibility for myself to drive distracted on the road. No matter how good of a driver you are, it’s always possible to get into a car accident. I also don’t have to walk alone at night, or worry about someone breaking into my car.
Furthermore, there are actually some interesting people and great conversations I’ve had with Uber drivers. Most of them have other jobs, and you never really know who you could meet. Some of my most memorable conversations included a constructive political debate with a retired history teacher, and a thoughtful dialogue on millennials and the future with a U.S. Army veteran.
Using Uber this semester has contributed to maintaining my mental sanity during a busy senior year. The benefits have exceeded my expectations.
Getting around quickly and safely is essential for someone that has a lot on their plate. I will definitely be doing this again next semester.