Opinion: Ups and downs of driving

Ever since I was a kid, I saw teens in movies learning how to drive and getting their license. Because of this, I dreamed of being able to drive and of all the privileges that would come with it. However, after learning to drive, I can definitely say that driving felt nothing like how it looked in the movies.

I began learning how to drive last June and was eager to start after a dreadful amount of online driver’s education. Once I actually got behind the wheel, however, I was almost in tears because of the anxiety. I began feeling emotions I felt were rarely shown in the movies, and I couldn’t help but fear that I’d crash or accidentally press on the pedal too hard. 

Before school started, I was practicing driving on a regular basis with my dad and sister in the car. I became more comfortable with driving and started to enjoy it. Driving became something to calm me down when I was frustrated or take my mind off of anything that was bugging me. However, that definitely still didn’t take away all that previous anxiety. 

To this day, I equate driving with feeling pressured: feeling pressured into learning to drive as soon as possible, gaining a sense of independence and showing my family that getting my license is something I can do, especially after mentioning it constantly.

I keep getting worried that I’ll be a bad driver despite knowing all the rules of the road and how to drive in certain settings. It’s frustrating to constantly be anxious about forgetting which lines on the road are for what or fearing that I’ll mess up while practicing on the highway, whether it’s me who messes up or someone else. 

It also feels like once I learn how to drive, it’s only a matter of time before I’m doing things like getting a job, applying to colleges and getting ‘my own place.’ All of it feels very exciting in theory, but the moment these events start getting closer, I can’t breathe properly.

 I’m definitely excited to get my license, considering it’s all I’ve been talking about, but I hate the feeling that I have to grow up and succumb to the expectations from society and responsibility that comes with it. There are definitely some benefits to learning how to drive early on, such as being able to drive around on your own and broadening opportunities. However, that doesn’t take away from all the unexpected changes and pressure that come with it.