Big Changes & Growing Up

By Clayton Tower

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The jump into driving is probably one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of growing up.

Everyone looks forward to being able to leave their house without a parent or getting a ride from a friend, but getting your license requires at least 6 months with an instructional driving permit.

Depending on what kind of parents you have, this can be a somewhat stressful time. For me, this was horrible. I hated having my permit on so many levels. First of all, every time I got into the driver’s seat of my car it ended in a fight between me and my mom because I was either driving too fast or too slow, taking corners too sharply or too wide. I could never really drive according to my mom’s standards.

After a few months, my mom started to calm down and it became easier to drive with my parents in the car. As getting my real license got closer, reality set in and I began to think about all of the responsibility that comes with it: gas, insurance. NOT DYING! Or hurting others.

I started to panic a little bit and sorta didn’t want to get my license at all. Then I felt like I was being foolish because I would be able to do basically whatever I wanted to as long as I had my parents’ permission.

The day for my driving test was upon me and I’d never been so nervous in my life.

I woke up early with my dad and took a drive into Newport for a little pre-test warm up. Afterwards, we went home to get all of the paperwork I needed in order to take the test. I had a little scare because we thought we had lost my birth certificate. After a little panic attack, we found all my paperwork and headed to the DMV.

I was so nervous and could barely keep my cool while we were waiting. I didn’t know who the instructor was going to be and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to begin driving on my own.

The instructor walked out of the back room and called my name. I nervously stood up and introduced myself. We walked out of the building to my car. My dad was with me, but it still didn’t make me feel any more comfortable.

The instructor asked me to turn on my headlights and blinkers and check my mirrors to make sure everything functioned correctly on the vehicle. Then he asked me to turn the car on. My Toyota 4runner had recently been having a starter motor issue and it needed to be replaced. When he asked me to start my car, it just made a clicking noise. I had to try over and over again until it finally started.

Not a good way to start my test.

We drove out of the DMV and the instructor started giving me instructions—when to turn and when to stop. Eventually, we got to an intersection in Newport and we came to a stop. I had been doing a perfect job up to that point, and then my nerves got to me and I killed the car. That meant I had to restart it and when I did, yet again, all we heard was a clicking noise.

Then, all of a sudden, just as the light turned green, my car sprang to life.

I finished the test flawlessly and pulled into the DMV with nothing but smiles upon my lips. The instructor paid me many compliments on my driving ability and, as it turned out, the test was very easy, and I ultimately felt extremely silly for being so nervous in the first place.

The ability to drive is probably one of  the biggest steps a teenager takes in becoming an adult. A driver’s license allows teens to hang out with their friends easier and go to the events they want to attend. My parting advice is this: Be confident in yourself and don’t skip out on the amazing opportunity you have to earn some freedom, to create memories, and to have fun.