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By Emily Williams
The Pioneer, Whitman College

(UWIRE)—Senior Shannon McCarty is very accustomed to the 274-mile trek from Walla Walla, Wash., to Seattle. She has been driving to and from school since the second semester of her sophomore year, filling her big SUV with other Seattle-bound friends, some extra gas money, and a lot of luggage.

McCarty decided to bring a car to school because her family wasn't using it and it made transportation to and from Whitman a whole lot easier. In addition to transportation to and from school, McCarty also finds that having a car allows for spontaneity and adventures.

"It's very convenient to not worry about asking someone if I want to go somewhere; if I want to go somewhere spur of the moment I can, and that's nice," says McCarty. "If I want to go just way out somewhere, sometimes just going for a drive with someone, not really knowing where I'm going to go, just driving for a while and then just stopping and sitting and looking because it's really beautiful out here."

For McCarty, the car means escape from the confines of Whitman College.

"It's really nice to get outside of campus because campus is beautiful but it can kind of get to be a little bit constricting and it's nice to go out to the open spaces and see the things that are there, watch the sunset or just going on some random adventure, just taking roads and seeing where they take you," she says.

In addition, McCarty likes not having to depend on other people for a ride home.

"It makes it a lot less stressful before breaks; I don't have to worry about reserving a ride with someone in advance because I just drive myself, but it also can be burdensome when things go wrong with the car or just always having to drive," she says.

According to McCarty, having a car comes with the responsibility of always driving for different events around town or even out of town.

"Sometimes it just gets tiring always having to drive," she says.

McCarty is glad that she didn't have a car her freshman year because she feels that it would have been too much of a burden, but Freshman Kevin Obey thinks having a car his freshman year has opened many doors for him.

While McCarty hails from nearby western Washington, Obey hails from New York. He got his car as a graduation gift, brought it because he wanted to be able to go off campus and have his own adventures, and he started off his freshman year with a 2,870 mile road trip with his dad from New York to Whitman.

"I think that was possibly one of the best experiences we've had; I mean it's not very often that it's just two people in a car, just 2870 miles, sitting there talking," says Obey.

Obey's favorite part of having a car, as for McCarty, is the ability to be spontaneous. Obey, who didn't go home over Thanksgiving or spring break, used his car to road trip around the Pacific Northwest with a group of friends.

"I want to be able to stay here and instead of feeling trapped on campus this is enabling me to be here and enjoy it and enjoy more than just the going-to-school aspect here, but the whole being in the northwest and that's pretty awesome and lucky," says Obey.

Although Obey loves having his car on campus, he foresees that it could become a burden if he needs to get home quickly, and make the drive in three days. But Obey thinks when he can take his time and really experience America compensates for any burden that having a car on campus might cause.

"The times when you don't really have to get home, you can just take your time and experience all of the country," he says. "Besides I don't just want to focus on where I am right this second and where I want to be; a lot of time we are just worried about getting from point A to point B and we don't really appreciate everything in between and I think that's kind of the best part."

Published July 3, 2013

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