MY RIDE- Melissa Berry: 1999 Volkswagen Beetle

After having driven a mini-van through most of high school, Melissa Berry says she was "ecstatic" to get her mom's old Beetle. Even though the car seats only four, "that's usually not an issue," she says, and she loves being able to snag tight parking spaces from big-car drivers.

Berry raves about the manual transmission: "It makes me a better driver because I have to pay attention a lot more." And the German-made car has helped her adjust to globalization: the time's reported on a 24-hour clock, and the temperature in celsius.

One mechanical snafu led to an interesting misadventure. In her second year at UVA, as she and her roommate headed for the ACC soccer final between UVA and UNC, they discovered that the passenger window wouldn't come up.  

"We drove all the way to Cary, North Carolina and back with the window down, full blast heat, huddled in blankets. Would I recommend it? No. But it was so much fun," she says. "And UVA broke UNC's 15-year title streak."  And there's a happy ending: since then, she hasn't had any other mechanical issues with the car. 

Melissa Berry