I will never forget the day I got my Driver’s License, November 21, 2007. I hurried into the lobby of the Berkshire Center, where I am a student, and proudly held it up to the Program Director.
I stood there with a bright, beaming smile on my face. This day marked a turning point in my life because it was a passage into adulthood, which I was finally achieving at the age of 21 years.
I love driving and the new found independence it gives me, but there was a lot of practice and studying that took place first in order for me to achieve my goal.
I can still remember the excitement that I felt when my friend Doug took me up to get a driver’s manual at the Registry Motor Vehicles in Pittsfield, MA. Finally I was going to be able to get my permit. This was something that I wanted to do for a few years, but I hadn’t done it because of my anxiety.
I attended the Residential Coordinator’s learner’s permit study group for a few months beforehand so that I could practice and feel more confident in myself when I went to take my test. Even though I was very well prepared, I was still nervous.
I took the computer test and I was crushed that I didn’t pass it the first time. Then I took the permit test again and passed with someone reading it to me. I was extremely nervous, so I had to do yoga to calm myself down before I took the test. I was so excited when I passed that I felt like jumping up and down for joy!
Now that I had my permit, it was time to get driving lessons. My advisor, Geraldine at the College Internship Program, called Dave’s Driving School to set up lessons for me to drive. I could hardly wait to get behind the wheel and I was very anxious to get out on the road. The instructor had me practice a three point turn, which made me a little nervous because it was my first time doing it. He talked me through parallel parking so I could get it done right the first time. I felt so relieved that I was able to do it.
The next driving lesson that I had involved backing up into the space between two parked cars. I thought that it was scary because of the cars that were parked behind me. I was amazed to see that I did very well the first time I tried. The U turn was hard because of all the traffic that was on that busy street but I managed it on the second time. On the next lesson, I practiced parking between two cones that were in the school parking lot. As the lessons continued, I practiced driving all over Pittsfield and learned what to do at traffic lights and stop signs. I continued to review all my skills that I had learned, and finally I got comfortable enough to set a date to take my road test.
The big day finally arrived, and I was determined to get my license. On the day of the test, I was nervous, anxious, uncomfortable and happy because I was going to finally get my license. When I was in the car with the state trooper next to me, I felt nervous because I feared that I would make mistakes while driving. I was extra nervous because on this very important day it was snowing!
When I was taking the road test, I felt really comfortable and confident. I did everything perfectly, a three point turn, parallel parking, backing up, U turn, stopping at the stop sign and following the trooper’s direction with my signal before I turned. The road tested lasted only 15 minutes, and then I went back to the registry to get my license because I passed!
When I got my license it gave me the feeling of instant independence and also the responsibility to drive safely. This is a passage to adulthood because I now have the freedom to do more things on my own. Most young people have their license by age 18, many even get it at the age 16, so they have feeling of freedom, self- sufficiency and independence at a much younger age. No wonder this was such an important day for me.
I was 21 years old and I felt like finally I was gaining the independence people much younger had already achieved. I had conquered my anxiety and when Gary Shaw congratulated me I felt great pride in my accomplishment. I went home to my parents for a visit and drove my mom’s car to my job. There is no feeling that can compare!