License to drive

As my mom and I made our way up to the DMV for seemingly the tenth time in the past year, we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to get there on time.

With a strict 5:30 closing time and less than an hour to sit through the horribly long lines and notoriously painful DMV experience ahead of us, neither of us were in a good mood. We sat in line for just over 45 minutes but at around 5:30 p.m., I became the last member of my grade to officially have my Connecticut driver’s license.

I watched my friends all get their permits and then their licenses and soon almost everyone in my grade was getting around in their new cars. Thanks to an endless series of days where I was too busy to go to Norwalk or too tired after school, I ended up getting my license about eight months later than I possibly could have.

Most kids really look forward to getting their license obviously. But with me, getting my license almost a year late the thought of being able to drive alone was just killing me.

I finally got my license during the AP weeks, where juniors across the country stress over the stupidly standardized tests they “have to take” to get in to college. I was (and still am, as it’s not over yet) stressed, and it may sound corny or trivial to anyone who has had their license for a while, but getting it has been such an amazing thing that it seemed to magically take away the stress.

I remember, earlier this year, my English teacher telling me about what it feels like to first get a license.

“You have this amazing realization that you can go anywhere you want, albeit it only lasts a few days,” he roughly said.

I constantly dreamed of that description and was jealous of my friends who had already experienced it. On top of the fact that I was so late, the longing for this feeling made my anticipation agonizing. And, while I absolutely hate to admit it, my anticipation for this feeling probably killed a little of the sensation one has after getting behind the wheel alone for the first time.

It is entirely possible that I tried to experience my English teacher’s description a little too much. I unfortunately can’t say that I had quite the same revelation that he did. Nonetheless, I can still say that getting my license and what has followed from having it (not having to ask my mom for a ride to CVS, getting food whenever I want, etc.) have been equally as amazing to me.

For a more experienced driver, or even some of my friends who have had their licenses for over a year, this is insignificant. Many people even prefer not to drive in many cases and look at it as a burden rather than a blessing. Regardless of how you think about being able to drive, I just want to remind people of how that first drive feels — even if I did not quite achieve the feeling.

It’s still the sort of freedom that people look back on and take for granted — but it really is an amazing part of being in high school.

Henry Haig is a junior at Brunswick School.

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