So, part one of my crazy week; getting my permit..! For someone like me who has anxiety, just the thought that I was going to have to get my permit while my parents were back was nerve wracking enough.
So, I’m 21 and still don’t have my drivers license.. Why?
I got to watch my brother do the whole song and dance with drivers training and getting his permit and licence. But my 16th birthday was spent in a hotel with my family, waiting to be shipped overseas to Germany thanks to the military. Fun fact, I couldn’t get an American license in Germany, even on an American Army Base! And a German licence? You had to be 22, AND have an American license to get a German licence! 😂 I was really out of luck there!
Moving back to the U.S. and getting dropped off on my grammas doorstep to help take care of her and grampa, caused my anxiety to flare up big time! No parents, no brother, back in my home country that seems foreign to me now, -where I didn’t have to pay for public bathrooms or recycle every little thing- and now learning to live with my grandparents. It stressed me out to the point where I didn’t leave the property much..
Fast forward to now and my anxiety is finally getting much better! (Special thanks to my boyfriend and parents who have been helping me get out of my comfort zone with my anxiety)
So, back to getting my permit. I studied my butt off for two weeks before going in for the actual test. But with my anxiety, I like to be OVER prepared for things. So when I tried looking around for a blog post that would tell me what the actual experience of going in and getting a permit would be like, and then came up empty, I was truly disappointed. Most of the things I seen were things like ‘tips and tricks for passing your permit test‘, or things for the driving test, not a thing about getting your permit..
So I thought I would let all of those soon to be new drivers (both young and old) get a glimpse into what to expect for getting your permit..
(Keep in mind I’m older than 18, and live in Michigan, so things may be different in your state and if you’re younger then 18.)
The drive over was scary. My mom took me to get my permit, she is the best with my anxiety and knows just how to keep me calm. The whole drive over I sat there joking with my mom and rereading that little booklet they give you at the DMV to use to study for the permit test. I had taken a highlighter through the book the night before on things I needed to remember for the test. Just little things I thought I might trip up on the test. Like how many seconds you had to look ahead on the road (12 seconds (not to be confused with keeping a 3-4 second following distance)), or what the speed limit in Michigan is if not posted otherwise (55mph).
Getting there early seemed like a great idea right? We got there 15 minutes before the Secretary Of State office opened and drove up to see a long line waiting outside the door.. So out of the car we got and into the line we went..
After it opened, we took a number and sat in the many chairs they provided for waiting. I have to admit, the line went faster then expected. (Or maybe it was just because time seams to speed up when you’re dreading something.) I was so nervous, but I knew I had prepared well. I had spent weeks doing practice tests online, and I studied all the night before from the booklet. I could do this!
While waiting, I worried I would have to go into another room for testing. The place I had went to had just recently switched from paper tests to computer tests. And we couldn’t see any computers at first..! Thankfully, there was a young man ahead of me that had come in to get his permit as well! So I watched him walk over to two tiny touch screen computers in the far corner of the room and start his test. He wasn’t there long, he went back up to the desk, and he was out of there before I knew it, permit in hand. While waiting, watching other people, and talking to some of the people around me, I began to get more comfortable. There were two lady’s behind the desk that were smiling and joking with everyone, and that made me feel much better about it getting closer to my turn.. (Does anyone else look at the people behind the desk and secretly have your favorite that you hope you get?)
Finally, number 04 was called (it started at #96). It was my turn.. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed my purse and coat off the floor and hurried up to the counter with my mom. The paperwork was so easy I was shocked! All they asked for was my social security card, and my State ID. Now, one thing I worried about was that the address on my State ID wasn’t the address I have now. I can’t tell you how much I stressed about this.. I had no real proof that I lived here at my grandmother’s house, all I had were a few letters that friends had sent to me with my name and address on them. When my mother helped me explain about all that, she took the two envelopes with my name and address on them, and handed me a paper to fill out for getting my permit. She made it so simple that I didn’t have any anxiety at all.
After stepping off to the side and filling out the paperwork, I went back up and the lady behind the desk told me it was time for the eye exam.. Yikes..! There was a little machine attached to the desk that she had me look through. I had to confirm I could see flashing lights on ether side of the machine (checking my phereficial vision), and then I read one line of letters out of five lines. That was it! Time for the real test!
I was directed to a computer and asked if I wanted headphones to block out the noise (noise didn’t bother me so I declined those easily). The test wasn’t too bad, most of the questions were similar to the practice tests I had taken on drivingtests.org (an amazing website for anyone looking to study for their permit tests by the way!), and honestly most of them were just common sense to answer. There were 10 sign questions, you could get 2 wrong (I got 1 wrong), and 40 test questions, you could get 10 wrong (I got 2 wrong). They ask you as many questions as they need to until you get 30 right out of 40, so because I got 2 wrong, I answered 32 questions before the test finished.
I went back up to the desk and the lady behind it was waiting for me, permit in hand ready for me to sign. I signed the paper, paid the $25 fee, and even got my voters ID switched over to my new address as well. The lady behind the desk joked and said that it was a ‘one stop shop’ for everything.
All in all, we were in and out in about an hour and a half. An hour for waiting, and a half hour for the test, the ‘eye exam’, and the paperwork. It was easier then I thought it would be, and I really wish I knew that before going in, it would have saved me all the worrying I did about the unexpected.
I’m hoping that maybe I can put the mind at ease of someone going in to get their permit. As long as you study before you go in, and keep a calm head, it’s not that hard.
More posts to come about how my week with my parents went. Have a great day, smile, and enjoy the ‘ride’ that is life.. 😁
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