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Driver’s license test: Sometimes it’s OK to just pass

I am the type of person who loves to ace tests. If you go to school with me, you most likely know this. However, most of you kind readers probably don’t so let me explain.

I love going into a test, fully prepared, and just owning it. It’s what I do. I don’t freak out if I get a 97 percent on one, but I still am a little irritated (yes, I know I’m that annoying person).             

It’s not surprising that I do try to do as good as I can on other areas of my life. I work on being the friendliest and most productive candy salesperson I can be. I put a lot of work into my weekly articles to try to get them perfect. For running, I won’t stop until I’m one of the best in the state. Forget that. I’m never stopping with running, even if I would be one of the top 800 runners in Minnesota.

With the mindset I have, you might think that I’m the same way about driving. Well, I thought I would be too. But instead of keeping up a trend of acing driving tests, I have a trend of barely passing them.

This trend started when I took the written permit test. No, the permit test is not terribly hard. However, I just barely passed it by getting 2 percent above passing.

My driving test wasn’t looking too great either. I barely had enough time to get in my behind-the-wheel lessons before I took my test because I was gone on vacation. My aunt, after having me drive her on the interstate, thought that I would give my behind-the-wheel instructor a heart attack.

She didn’t say it, but she was extremely shocked that I passed my test and told me how other people had failed the test and that failure was OK. To be honest, though, I can’t blame her, as my ability to keep the car steady at that point wasn’t too great.

However, I got behind-the-wheel lessons done shortly afterwards and didn’t give Mr. Reierson, my instructor, a heart attack. In fact, I knew everything that I thought I needed to ace the test with no problem.

I was hopeful enough to think that way. I now know better.

First off, the day of the test was the day I woke up and started this wonderful phase where all of a sudden I’m tired all the time and much slower than normal.

Before the test, I forgot to bring a snack into town and didn’t get enough to eat. I became very nervous and was incredibly jittery. I must say though that my nerves weren’t the worst ever, though. My dad was more scared than I was; the poor guy also had to wait in suspense while I took the test.

The one weird thing that I did to prepare was that even though I was told I wouldn’t need it for the test was asking my dad how to park downhill. I was told that I would need to know about parking uphill. Later, I would find out that I needed to park downhill. Knowing that I should turn my wheels to the right would save my butt later.

Obviously I wasn’t in great condition to take the test. The tester started off with asking questions that I didn’t know, like where the flashers were in the car and how to turn on the hazard lights. After an awkward five minutes of the tester asking me questions I wasn’t sure on, we headed off to do parallel parking.

In practice, I had been doing my parallel parking correctly half of the time. With being nervous, it was nothing short of a disaster. I hit the curb again and again, before the instructor told me to move on.

The 90 degree parking went very well, but I was still shaky. Deep down I knew I could still pass, but it was looking grim. The driving portion went pretty well, and I got asked to park downhill. I had no experience with that, but besides being too far away from the curb, it went decent thanks to my dad’s advice.

At the end, I was scared as heck. I had done a terrible job, and I didn’t know if I would be able to get the test passed before school starts this fall. I was ready to run into my dad’s arms and apologize for failing.

Though somewhere in my mind, I knew I could have passed. This tiny suspicion was confirmed when the tester said, “Well, your parallel parking didn’t go well, you could have parked way closer to the curb, but you somehow managed to pass.”

I was so relieved at that point. Now I’m happy, because if I could pass when I was feeling that terrible, I know I can drive well when I’m feeling normal now. 

Sometimes, just passing is enough. With most tests I would be highly disappointed if I barely passed, but this time I was just content.

Holly McCamant is a junior at Frazee-Vergas High School.