Emily Little

Getting a driver’s license changes everything

When I first began learning to drive, I absolutely hated it. I constantly felt like I was about to run a red light, hit a dog, or run into a pole. After having my learner’s permit for a few months, I started adjusting to driving relatively well. My second time ever driving was all the way from Sebring to Frostproof in the pouring rain. This past Thanksgiving break, I conquered driving to Gainesville. After I-4, the turnpike, and 1-75, I felt like a pretty confident driver.

Whether I feel I am a fantastic driver or not, someone else must agree with me for me to be able to receive my driver’s license. Essentially, there were two options: wait to turn 16 and go take the difficult test like nearly everyone else, or take my test through driver’s ed. I decided to take the driver’s ed route based on hearing my friends say how low-key it was.

There was a bit of a mix-up in the beginning as to when I would be driving and with which instructor, but it was quickly sorted out. Typically, student drivers have one or two friends as “driving partners” in their car, and they switch periodically from the role of passenger to driver, and vice versa. My driving partner was a good friend of mine, Rachel. I feel like having a friend in the car makes the entire process a little more bearable. Although, to be completely honest, the process was not as unbearable as people make it out to be.

Constantly, I hear that driver’s ed is incredibly boring and monotonous. While I did not have to take the actual classroom portion of driver’s ed, the driving aspect was not entirely awful. We drove around town, and listened to our driving instructor, Mr. Shoemaker, tell us stories about fishing and tried to solve the riddles he gave us. My personal favorite was, “I have two coins in my hand that add up to 55 cents. One of them is not a nickel. What are the coins?” Rachel and I were stumped for a solid five minutes until Mr. Shoemaker explained, “A half dollar and nickel. I said one of them wasn’t a nickel, I didn’t say the other couldn’t be.”

We were both pretty experienced drivers, so there wasn’t a tremendous amount of teaching to be done. In all honesty, the only struggle I seemed to face in driver’s ed was learning to use the windshield wipers in the car that I was unfamiliar with. Mr. Shoemaker had a great attitude the entire time, which made Rachel and I have great attitudes in turn. Overall, the driving portion was easy-going and relatively pleasant.

After passing my test, it’s extremely bizarre to think I will be a licensed driver in a few short days. Everywhere I’ve ever been in my entire life, I have been driven by someone else. Now, however, I will be able to drive myself. I can already feel the errands and grocery shopping trips that my parents will be sending me on.

It is both a convenience factor and a wonderful freedom to know that soon I will be able to take myself places instead of relying on someone else. Clearly, I have come a long way from having absolutely no desire to get behind the wheel. For the next few days, I will cherish my last few moments being chauffeured around as I now will likely become the chauffeur for a change.