I finally got my driver’s license

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Moments after I found out that I had passed my driver’s test.

When I was younger, I remember telling my mother that I would simply walk or bike everywhere because I was too afraid to drive. 

But, when my mom would ask me, “What will happen when it rains or snows?” I wouldn’t have an answer. I was too stunned to speak. 

Two years later, here I am, because as of October 8, 2022, I, Arpita Das, have officially become a licensed driver. 

It’s weird, right? You’d normally think that by the time you’re a junior you would have your license, but that actually was not the case for me. 

Being the oddball I was for doing virtual school the whole time COVID-19 was going on, I put a dent into my plans for getting my license as well. I took the segments for driving later than I intended and went about the whole process in an entirely different way. 

Instead of taking segment one during freshman year, I took it at the end and got over 80 hours of driving before taking segment two. Although I wish I could’ve gotten my license earlier, here are a couple of lessons that stick out to me most. 

First, you NEVER drive with your left foot on the accelerator. Despite how embarrassing I felt after doing this, looking back at it makes me laugh when I  realize what an amateur I was. 

I will only continue to carry those lessons throughout my driving endeavors for the rest of my life.”

Next, always look over your shoulder when changing lanes. The chant “mirror mirror shoulder” was a phrase we learned in driver’s training, and it’s something that I always remember when making lane changes. Even though keeping the wheel straight while looking back can feel like a balancing act, I’d rather be safe than sorry when changing the lane my car is in. 

Lastly, you always want to drive within five miles of the speed limit. But, before you say anything, yes, I am choosing to expose myself here, but only for the greater good. Until I took the test, I didn’t know that driving ten miles under the speed limit was unlawful.

Yes, I should’ve known this ahead of time, but if there’s anything I want you to learn from my experience, it’s that when it comes to driving, you need to be prepared, because anything can happen. 

All in all, I am glad that I got my license. But the one thing I will miss most about having to do it alone would be the long drives with my dad. 

Every time we would get in the car, I would turn it on, adjust my seat and mirrors and log my hours on the Road Ready app. 

Once his seatbelt was on, we set off for the road, and we would talk about life. I would ask him how his day was, sprinkle in some questions about driving here and there, and just talk about what life was like when he was my age. 

Although I will miss the countless conversations that we’ve had in the car, I will only continue to carry those lessons throughout my driving endeavors for the rest of my life.