My CDL School Adventure

truck school So as I explained in my last blog post I set out on a crazy adventure to get my CDL License, so that I could go over the road with my husband and we could save up for our retirement. Well getting my license was the biggest battle of my life, more so than losing weight. This adventure should of only took me a month, but with all the problems and obstacles it took five months to accomplish.

To say I was scared to death when I first started CDL school is an understatement. I knew walking in that I would probably be mocked for several reasons. One I was older than most of the students and two I was female which as most people know is still frowned upon by some truckers. But I was determined NOT to let this stop me. The schooling in the classroom was the easiest part for me, I was able to study and comprehend and pass my written test easily. It was the “yard” or manuevers part that I seem to have serious issues with, and that is what is caused my delay.

Most of my training I had, was out in the yard (A concrete parking lot) on my feet for around 9 hours each day, standing around and waiting for my turn to hop into the truck and take my turn. Now I learned my maneuvers pretty easy and after a few weeks of training seemed to have them down pretty good. Then it came time to go to state and take my test and I failed. It was second maneuver which is called “offset” that held me up. I remember walking away that day and trying to figure out what I had done wrong to fail. For days I sat there going over and over in my head what did I do wrong to not pass. This began a long miserable cycle of going to state and failing over and over again on the same damn maneuver. It was frustrating and maddening to say the very least.

What upset me the most was I was being sent to the same testing facility each time and I was not the only person failing on this same maneuver over and over again. So after watching others fail at this same manuever as me, I went to the school director to try and voice my frustration and beg for help and assistance. This is where my story gets so frustrating. My director was getting sick of sending me to state only to have me fail over and over again, and you could tell by his body language and attitude towards me that he was secretly just hoping I would give up on my dream of trucking and simply just quit.

Offset Backing-The Maneuver I could not get

Offset Backing-The Maneuver I could not get

It got to the point that my phone calls to the school and emails would go unanswered for days. But I was persistent, I was not going to let this defeat me. After all the struggles in my life I have gone through, I was not going to fail at this. For the first time in my life I was determined that there was something small that I was doing wrong, that if someone would just help me I would be able to pass my test. But to try and get this across to my school and instructors was damn near impossible. As I went over and over in my head it became clear to me that the problem was the particular maneuver I was trying to accomplish at this state facility the field was shorter there than at my school. This particular maneuver we had been set up in our school with having 180 feet to to use to accomplish this manuever but at this state facility we had a much shorter distance to accomplish this same manuever, so each time I went I failed. I kept telling my director that it seemed like we only had 120 feet to accomplish this manuever and he if would just teach me how to accomplish this manuever in a shorter distance I would not fail, it was at this point that he looked at me and said “Why are you doing this? You have been doing this for months, wasting my gas in my trucks and you are no closer to passing. Are you really sure you should be doing this?”

It was at this moment that two things happened. My first instinct was to have tears well up in my eyes, and I almost had that knee jerk reaction of wanting to give up and quit. But then inside my belly welled up such anger I felt I was going to explode. In my life I have survived a 25 year abusive marriage, survived losing over 100 pds, and now this guy thought I was really going to give up on something that I wanted more than anything. This man obviously had no idea whom he was dealing with. Simply put I told him I was not going to give up whether he helped me or not I would pass this test. At this point he told me that he felt the school could no longer help me and that they wished me luck on passing.

Devastated does not even begin to explain how I felt. Now what do I do? I knew that with the proper guidance I could pass my test but without help and the use of a semi truck I had no hope of passing. The worst part of this was that my husband whom was so supportive was beginning to think maybe our dream was over as well. He tried so hard to be there for me to lift me up, be supportive but I could hear in his voice that he felt our dream was probably over. On top of that he had to field questions from his employers on has your wife passed yet and what was the hold up. And I could feel the pressure on his shoulder was great, and the worst part about it was I did not want to disappoint my new employer but I also did not know what else to do and how to pass this damn test.

Finally one day at work I called a competing CDL school and talked to their director a female, and explained to her how defeated and let down I felt. My hope was that she would willing to offer me a crash course of training and then maybe allow me test using one of her trucks, but what happened next can only be described as a miracle. The next question she asked me was “Do you think you were treated this way because you were a woman?”. This was  question that I can honestly say had rattled around in my head for months, but I did not want to bad mouth the school or start anything but the answer honesty was “Yes”.  I told her that I did not want to bad mouth the school but part of me did feel that maybe that was reason. She then asked me would I mind if she emailed the school to speak with them, because she sent them referrals all the time and she felt the way I had been treated after begging for help and assistance for months was wrong. After explaining to her that I email them all the time with little to no response, I told her not to surprised if they too did not respond to her as well.

To my surprise not even fifteen minutes later my phone rang at work, I was unable to answer it and it went straight to voicemail. After a few minutes I excused myself and listened to the message. It was my CDL school and they were calling saying they wanted to give me a another chance of one on one training. They wanted me to come in the following week for four days to get the support and training I needed with one on one training with the director himself, and then I would go to take my test on the fourth day. For the first time in months I felt hope, like the weight off my shoulders was finally lifted.

The following week I worked hand in hand with the director and his son, and he admitted that he too had found out that the state facility they had keep sending to me had shortened the lane that was suppose to my maneuver in from our standard 180 feet to 145 feet which was the reason I was having so many issues. After a few days of practice my director showed me how to do the maneuver in a shorter field and I began to nail the maneuver every time. It was like the light went on, I had finally figured out how to pass this test with the testing area I had been given and I knew I would finally be able to pass my test. The following week I went to take my yard test and when I passed that part I literally started crying, next I went on to pass my road test and pass that as well. As I was pulling back into the testing facility from my road test my instructor whom had been with me each and everytime I had failed at the state testing facility was standing outside with tears in his eyes and clapping for me. He looked at me and said “No one has worked harder to get their CDL License and you never gave up I am so proud of you”. Mr Bob was the kindest man who had encouraged me all along the way not to give up, and the fact he was proud of me just sent me to tears.

Bottom line my experience at CDL School was NOT typical and was a super hard road to go down, but I did not give up. I knew that this was  life changing opportunity for me and Larry to change our financial future and also help give us what we have always wanted, more time together. So as of now I should be going over the road next week so watch my blog as I share our life over the road, the ways we will be trying to incorporate healthy eating, and exercise into our new daily trucking lives.




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About Angie

Single Mom of two girls on a journey to get healthy by losing weight and learning to love herself again!

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