When you’re already a broke college student, it is anxiety-triggering when you see a parking violation tucked between your windshield wipers. It’s happened to me at least once, maybe twice and I have done what I can to avoid it in the last few semesters.
The last time I received one was at the beginning of the semester. I was in at the Campus Hub for no more than five minutes to set up my direct deposit account information for The Reporter.
Having moved, I needed to update my bank account information. The online page was giving me grief about setting up the account, so I decided to stop in person, only to face yet another problem. I didn’t waste time with the option of an appeal since I knew the last time did no good but I waited a whole month and had to spend my grocery budget on paying the ticket.
Students struggle enough with saving money and my opinion is that when they pay enough for tuition and housing and should not have to worry about an extra expense. Not everybody is granted scholarships or makes enough money to pay for a whole semester’s parking.
As a nontraditional student who commuted from Fairmont and back for the last few years, it’s frustrating when you arrive after over an hour’s drive and there is nowhere to park in the free lot. When that has happened, I have parked an extra block away and walked to the free lot, then waited for the bus to arrive. Sometimes, though, I have missed the bus in the process, so I have ended up walking so I am not running late—literally—to class.
Other times I have parked in the U-Square and have been towed, even after I bought a coffee at Caribou and have returned right back after my class. That has added to the amount of expenses and stresses, as I am sure it has others.
Now after I have formed solid friendships, I moved this semester and usually leave my vehicle parked where I am living, since I need the exercise anyway and the weather is still nice. But once winter whips up with its disasters of blizzards, ice and snow, students will not want to walk and buses are sometimes too full for another person or two. Consequently, those people will have to wait until the next bus comes. Even though I will have graduated by then, parking will still pose a problem for other students.
I also realize that parking meters are posted in a couple places around campus, but most don’t carry change with them in the age or debit cards. I have also attempted to form the habit of saving change in a jar but I ultimately use it out of desperation for lunch funds, a guilty pleasure coffee drink, or a few small personal items. Necessities doesn’t take much but they add up quickly.
So, the solution? I’m not sure. I have conjured attempts with my own, only for the solutions to last only for so long, according to limited budgets and changing seasons. Ultimately, I don’t know why we students should pay for parking permits. If we didn’t have to worry about them, maybe more of us, particularly those who commute from a distance, would consider housing sooner. Then we would leave our vehicles in the parking spaces at the apartments and still use the bus. If we do pay for parking tickets, I believe the costs could be lower than what they are.
On a last note, I am grateful for the city for its allowance to use bus system since it does help solve part of the parking problem. Some of the drivers have noticed me running when they just closed the doors and have let me in when I have had my MAVCard handy. Brandy, who drives the Maverick bus during the day, is also consistent with a timely picking up from the free lot or the CSU.
But I do hope the problem will be resolved for future students, as parking is an issue.