By Ryan Thornton, Rice Memorial High School, South Burlington, Vermont
On April 4th this year I went to get my Drivers Permit. It was a day I had waited a while for, I am 17 so at any point in high school I could have gone for a permit, If I had, I could have had a license by Junior year. I put off getting it because of laziness. Admittedly, even after passing it has not been implemented very much in the past two months. I’ve driven about four times, but I’m sure I’ll have more time over the summer.
When I went to take it a second time I really wasn’t too excited for it because I was sure I was going to miss the minimum score of 8 out of 10 by one point, again. In October 2011 I took the test for the first time and failed by that one point. After that I didn’t think of it much and it would be 6 months later until I would actually pass.
This is a very important milestone in any High School students’ careers. Learning to drive teaches responsibility and patience, and while I don’t really need to worry about either of these two I know that being able to drive by myself is going to be a helpful function for the rest of my life.
My dad who took me to the first test in October 2011 jokingly said “I knew you weren’t prepared, so that’s why I made you pay for the test.” I did not think that taking a test was so expensive, until I read the manual, which outlined expenses. If I failed it was $48, if I passed it was $75. Monetarily, it seemed like a lose-lose situation. I failed, handed over my money, and proceeded to mope around the rest of the day. It wasn’t a huge failure though, I learned what kinds of questions were on the test and that I could re-take the next week.
Fast forward six months to my mom saying teasingly “If you don’t pass, I’ll make you walk home” when she brought me to the DMV. That was all that I needed to know, I was going to pass the test.
I remember the first time drove home with my dad in the van, a couple weeks after getting my permit. I got from Rice, through UVM to our house in Winooski without an issue. Since our driveway was a shallow incline I gave it a little gas and went all the way up to the garage door and bumped it. My mom, who doesn’t like the old, paint-peeled door said “You should’ve driven all the way through!”
The second time I drove a longer distance than like five feet was during a barbeque. We had to go to the super market, this time there wasn’t anything to run into, it was a very smooth ride and I parked perfectly, satisfied with that, I decided to let my mom drive back to the barbeque.
That was the most significant event of my high school career so far. Over the past few months I probably have not felt its significance. It will be very important in the next few years though. I realize now that everyone went through what I did. Maybe they didn’t fail the first time, maybe they failed twenty times; but when you pass it’s very exciting to have and be able to exercise a new freedom. Like I learned from the test “Driving is a privilege” I understand that it’s important for everyone to be responsible and that if they are not there are repercussions.
Three years ago the thought of driving seemed pretty scary, trying to control a one ton block of metal and fiberglass is very daunting. Now it does not seem very big at all, it will take some getting used to, but I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m on the road.the original article from hsj.org, written by Ryan Thornton