By Chandini Antal

Before Getting License/Practicing:

The day I got my temps I was so excited! I was finally going to start driving. That night my dad took me to an empty parking lot just to practice how much pressure I need to put on the gas and brakes. Each day I drove more and more, and I thought I was getting pretty good at it. Both of my parents told me I was the best beginner out of all of my four siblings. That definitely made them jealous and made me more confident. I drove on normal roads for awhile and felt like I had mastered them for the most part. But then it was time for the highway. I’ll admit my first time on the highway was a little nerve wracking. What if I didn’t see someone in my blinf spot? What if they didn’t see me in their blindspot? Needless to say, I did just fine, but I knew I needed more practice on the highway. So I just kept on practicing until I became comfortable on the highway. It just took time and practice. At this point I was feeling pretty good in my driving skills. My in-cars went really well, and I was surprised that maneuverability wasn’t that hard. I drove to all kinds of places like my friends’ houses, the mall, and restaurants (with my parents of course). However, I realized my parking skills were lacking, like a lot. Most of the time I parked crooked, and could just not get it right. So I went to a parking lot with my mom and just practiced parking, over and over again. I still didn’t have parking mastered, but it definitely improved. Overall, I was feeling great about driving and was excited to take my test. I knew I needed to brush up on maneuverability, so the night before I decided to practice. Now the car I was going to do my maneuverability test in was bigger than the car I used for my in-cars. So all the different times I turned the wheel were just off. I couldn’t get it right and was so frustrated. I told myself that I was going to fail my test tomorrow. I got so frustrated I drove home. That night though my mother talked some sense into me and told me I would be fine. So the following morning before my test, I practiced and kept getting it right. I was so happy and ready for my test, and actually ended up getting a hundred on it. Overall, I learned that the driving process isn’t that hard. It just takes time and practice.

The Test:

The day I took the test, I was VERY nervous. I was constantly reminding myself that this test was nothing new, that I was a skilled and well-prepared driver. Waiting for the test proctor to come out and begin the test was the longest five minutes of my life. It’s important to know that the DMV is never on time. Even if you schedule your test ahead of time just like me, you will be waiting at least 15 more minutes than planned. The actual test doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes. It will be awkward, your test proctor isn’t allowed to talk to you besides give you directions. The silence in the car allows you to completely focus on your thoughts, but don’t be like me and go down a worrying spiral! Don’t be afraid to ask your proctor to repeat the direction if you didn’t hear it. I had to ask my proctor to repeat his directions, as he was very quiet. When I was taking my test and saw my proctor write a note on his clipboard, I immediately got scared, thinking about what I did that would make me lose points or even fail. Thinking about the worst possible outcomes is the worst thing you can do to yourself when taking your driver’s test. If you get nervous while driving, remember to focus on the road and your proctor’s voice. Remember that you are a good driver! When you finish and pass your test, you can then go in to take your license picture and fill out all the legal forms. This process is both rewarding and terribly long. The process of handing in your temporary license in order for it to get marked so that you can recieve a paper copy of your drivers license is the best feeling ever. Taking your driver’s test is a big step towards adulthood.

After Getting Your License:

The License. The day you have always been waiting for, your test instructor finally tells you that you can go to the red carpet and wait in line to get the paperwork. For me this was a huge weight off my shoulders, the months of practice and worrying about passing is gone, and you finally get your long deserved independence. If your family is like mine, I wasn’t allowed to drive immediately after I got the legal paper, I had to wait a few days/weeks until my parents felt confident in my driving abilities. If this happens to you, yes it is incredibly frustrating but just be patient. After I passed the test, I was so proud but it hit me that I will now be alone sitting in a few thousand pounds of moving metal all by myself. If this is scary for you, you are not alone. I was petrified the first few days I drove by myself. I was utterly terrified that I was going to get hit by a car, or vice versa that I hit a car instead. This too passes. The fear eventually goes away as you keep driving more and more you become more confident in yourself and your driving abilities. Once you get past the initial fear, the fun comes. As a person who lives farther away from HB spontaneous events after school were never things, I could go to. It was always calling my parents asking if I could stay an hour later to get ice cream or hang out with friends, and their response was typically no because they had already started driving. This changes, you get the freedom to make your own schedule and even do spontaneous things. After this major milestone, I happen to think people actually feel different. They feel older and more mature, and much less dependent on their parents. Point blank driving gives you freedom, and it’s an incredible opportunity to take the test and feel like you are in control of your own life