Art of Growing Up - Driving
Driving is one of the most adult things you can do as a ‘child’. Being seen as responsible enough to be in control of a situation? It’s one of the most exciting things about growing up, which also makes it the most daunting.
I personally didn’t want to get my license right away. In fact, I planned on putting it off until I absolutely had to, which for me, would be after graduating high school and moving on to college. However, I got a job, and my plans changed.
At first, I was against the idea of getting a driver’s license at the ripe old age of 16. Mostly, my hesitation had to do with other people: I trusted myself to operate a car, but other people? Not so much. I have my license now, but unfortunately, this distrust hasn’t changed. What did change, though, is the way I drive.
If you’ve been in driver’s ed (or are in it, or have heard about it), you probably recognize the phrase ‘defensive driving’. In case you need a refresher, defensive driving is basically being aware of your surroundings as a driver and keeping a barrier between you and other vehicles. So, in real people terms, that means stay off your phone and don’t cut people off, which is as simple as it sounds. I replaced my nervousness with defensiveness, and so far, that’s worked quite well for me. I’m not afraid to drive, but I always remain cautious.
Another huge turn-off for me was the driver’s ed itself. Now, I’ve always been an attentive student, so the workload didn’t intimidate me; what intimidated me was watching my sister go through driver’s ed.
The RVA didn’t offer driver’s ed at the time my sister got her license, which meant she had to go through our local high school. At said high school, students not only had 2-hour class periods early in the morning, but their teacher was an ex-military man, who, in the simplest terms, was a jerk. So naturally, I was nervous.
Things ended up being a lot different for me. I took my coursework through the RVA (which I HIGHLY recommend, btw), and my behind-the-wheel lessons were with a privately owned company. Both Mr. Steinhoff and my behind-the-wheel instructor were incredible, and the remaining worry I had when it came to driving pretty much disappeared.
Ah, the wonderful world of driving! Those who don’t have their driver’s license wish they did and those who do wish they had enough money to pay for gas.
I recently got my driver’s license, and let me tell you, it’s sweet freedom. It’s weird that I have the power to drive myself to get things or go places without a parent. It’s one step closer to adulthood, and it’s a weird adventure. It’s so nice to have the newfound freedom that comes with a driver’s license.
Yes, it’s nice, but there are also new responsibilities and requirements. Now that I can drive, my parents count on me to transport my three younger siblings. I don’t mind being the new taxi driver, but it’s a new responsibility that I now have.
I also am required to pay for gas. Going places equals having to put gas in the car. In case you didn’t know, gas gets pretty expensive. You have to work in order to support our transportation, which requires gas to get to work, etc.. It’s an endless and necessary cycle that you must experience now that you can drive.
There’s a whole new layer of trust between parent and kid when you can drive. Your parents have to be able to trust you. If your parents don’t trust you, they won’t allow you to do things on your own and you might have an earlier and stricter curfew. Communication is key, especially with this new freedom.
Driving in itself is a huge responsibility. I mean, as a driver, you are operating a vehicle that has the power to seriously hurt people. If you really start to think about it, it can be scary. Don’t fret about it too much though, otherwise, it can be overwhelming.
New responsibilities present themselves often when you are able to drive, but it’s worth it. The new ability to get food whenever you want or pick up books from the library is amazing. All in all, it’s worth it.
Yes, there are new responsibilities, but the process of getting a driver’s license is intimidating. I’m not going to explain the process of getting your temps and furthermore, your license because chances are, you probably know already. Instead, I’ll say that I was there only a few months ago. Like Lauren, I took driver’s ed with RVA--I also recommend it--and it was a process, but was definitely worth the new adventure of driving.
Hang in there, because you’ll get your license eventually. At least for me, my license couldn’t come fast enough, so if you’re anxious about waiting, you’re not the only one. You’ll do great on your test and soon enough, you’ll be driving by your lonesome like the rest of us!
How could I forget the driver’s test? Probably because in my case, it was effortless. Of course, I was nervous leading up to it, like anyone should be, but once I actually got in the car and started driving, it just felt like I was driving someone, like a weird taxi service. So, if you know your stuff and get plenty of practice in before the big day, odds are, you’ll be fine.
Unlike Lauren, I was pretty nervous about my driver’s test, even while I was driving with the instructor. It freaked me out that he was absolutely silent while he wrote my mistakes on his intimidating clipboard. Sadly, I failed my first driver’s test because of this. It also didn’t help that my instructor’s nickname was No Pass Pete. Anyway, I had to wait a week before taking my second test, so I practiced. I drove everywhere I could and worked hard to correct the things that needed to be fixed. I did past my second test and my instructor was excellent; he kept me relaxed while engaging in conversation.
If you haven’t taken your driver’s test and you’re nervous about it, the best piece of advice I can give to you is: relax and know that each instructor is looking for something different. On my first test, No Pass Pete wanted me to constantly check my blind spots while the other instructor watched my turns. Practice, relax, and drive.
Yeah… half the points I got were from not checking my right blind spot, oops. But my instructor was a cool dude that didn’t stress me out, and for that, I’m grateful.
So what’s the biggest takeaway? Driving, just like pretty much any other form of education, is a learning curve. It comes in all sorts of variations, there are a bunch of teachers (all with different personalities), and sometimes, you don’t get it on the first try. And when you don’t get something on the first try, all it means is that you try again.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…
K + L
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