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When I first got behind the wheel I was terrified just like any other sixteen year old. My dad had always let me help him move the cars that we had in our house around and park them on our lot before, but I was never on the actual road before. Someone had told me that I should learn manual before automatic because it would be easier. Nothing about this learning experience was easy at all. I had begged my dad for a long time when he was going to teach me to drive in a manual car. Since he bought the car he never wanted to until I was finally able to convince him to take me out. Little did I know that this was the beginning of many many failed lessons.

The day had finally arrived I was going to learn to drive a manual car. It was a beautiful day out perfect for my first lesson. I was so excited to learn that I had been watching youtube videos to prepare myself for what was coming. I eagerly waited for my dad to get home from work knowing that as soon as he got home I was going to get my lesson. We went to some empty backstreets, so I wouldn’t run into anyone ,  on our way there my dad was giving me a mini lesson on what to do and why. So many words and explanations going through my head about revs per minute and the clutch all coming at me at the same time. Also focusing on extra pedals and shifting at the right moments. My dad is at yeller even if he is not upset he speaks loudly all the time. He’s also very judgy and hard headed at most times. I knew going into this lesson that he was going to yell at me the entire time.


I still remember it was a 2008 white Honda Civic. As soon as we arrived to the backstreets I got into the drivers’ seat all of the preparing went straight out the door, my mind was completely blank. My dad instructed me to turn the car on and slowly and let off the clutch and step on the gas. As soon as I tried it the car jumped forward and my dad yelled, “mensa, I said slow!” I felt very scared but not yet given up I quickly tried it again and again and again for what felt like forever. The whole time my dad in my ear, “no, not like that like this, it’s better if you just…” I couldn’t even concentrate on my own thoughts. This went on for a while, I would get the car to move forward a tiny bit and it would shut off, finally my dad decided to call it quits and head home. I was pretty bummed after this experience and my dad had it set in his mind that after this lesson I would never learn. We drove home pretty silently and that is how my first lesson driving a manual car went. Little did I know a few years later the same scenario minus the yelling I would learn in a flash.

When my mom began taking me out for lessons in her automatic 2014 Toyota Rav 4. She is the total opposite of what my dad was like she was way more mellow and laid back. I enjoyed the times when my mom took me out to drive she taught me great things. Although she was always anxious she tried her best to put her trust in me, which in return made me feel good about learning. It wasn’t long until I took my permit test and passed it. I was finally able to drive the car farther with an adult , I couldn’t have been more excited. After I passed my exam it was time to get out onto the bigger streets instead of abandoned parking lots and backstreets. As soon as I got onto those bigger streets I felt very small, all the cars around me felt like they were getting to  close and I couldn’t focus on one thing. After facing my fears and practicing over and over none of that stuff bothered me anymore, time flew by so fast learning. I was able to drive to school and drop myself off and my mom would take her car to work, the practice and everyday routine helped more than I could think. 

It was finally time to take my driving test it was not a beautiful sunny day like all the days I had been practicing. The weather was rainy and some ice was on the roads and when we got closer to our destination, it began to hail. We were a few streets down from the DMV for my appointment, everything was going well when we hear honking coming at us before we could even realize who was honking, then suddenly “BOOM,” as we were stopped at the light a lady driving behind us tried to stop but her car slid and ran right into us. Me and my mom just sat there frozen not believing what has just happened, “did that really happen,” I said to her. We pulled to the side of the street as the rain poured down on us we tried to see the damage, and much to our surprise our rear bumper had nothing more than a few scratches. We shared our information under the pouring rain and hurried back to our car. Much to our surprise we were able to make it to the DMV on time. I was able to take my behind the wheel test and pass on the first try. The road to getting my license wasn’t easy at all but I made it. 

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My learning wasn’t over just yet I still had the itch to learn to drive a manual car. It had been a few years since I had gotten my license and I couldn’t shake the thought of driving a manual car. I had asked my dad a few times but he brushed me off, I also asked my older brother but he said he didn’t have any time. I didn’t quite give up asking but there aren’t many people that know and have the time to teach. A close friend had recently just bought a car and told me he would teach me but I was too afraid since his car was new. He asked me if I wanted to learn a few more times but I refused. Finally, I gave in and decided it was time to learn. It was a fresh night when we went out into the driveway and got into the car. I was a bit afraid but overall excited, we sat in the car as he explained what I had to do. I understood and turned on the car, slowly released the clutch and stepped on the gas, “ oh my gosh i’m doing it,” I yelled loudly I had got the car to move. “Try to step on the gas a little bit,” said my friend. I tried to go a bit faster and the car stalled. I didn’t let it shake me I started the car up right up again and kept trying. After some time I was moving the car forward and even backward in the driveway. I was so happy to have the basics down for driving a manual car. I was very proud of myself and my friend was surprised that I had learned so quickly. 

My long journey to learning to drive was not the one I expected but it was a great one. I learned that your teacher matters a lot I was not able to learn to drive a manual car with my dad but accomplished it with a friend. I hope to learn to drive manual better than I know now but in the meantime I will better my day to day driving. I appreciate the people who helped me learn and the time and patience they had with me because it was difficult.