Sunday, May 25, 2014

A year with Alfie and some big news :)

This post is going to be random, so just a warning!

It's been a year today since I got Alfie and I have no idea where the year has gone! He is the cheekiest, cutest, lovable cat who demands to be cuddled then will bite your hand off! He has gotten much bigger but still acts like a kitten and is still obsessed with bells (Christmas was a challenge as the decorations included bells and sparkly things) and yes he is a box which is another one of his obsessions (I had ordered a few things online and they came in a big box which he was pleased about!).

Now onto the news of the week (or month?), no I haven't gotten a job (that would be nice but I am trusting God that I will get one soon) but I FINALLY PASSED MY DRIVERS TEST!!! It has taken me 4 unsuccessful attempts and a few thousand dollars in lessons but I did it!!! I did it at the same place I did my last one but with a different tester. I honestly can't believe it, I asked the tester 5 times after he told me I passed if it was true, I just couldn't believe it! It still feels surreal and I find myself thinking that I need to practice more or to book another test in but I don't. Instead I just have to get 25 hours of driving logged and wait 6 months then do another computer generated test and I have my license (well my P plates but I can drive by myself), I have logged just under 2 hours and Dad is making me drive everywhere and I am hoping that I can drive down south to visit some friends soon. But I have 6 months to do it all so no major hurry, my next aim is to get a job so I can save up for a car (I want a small car with 4 doors and preferably in a bright colour). For now my parents are happy to taxi me around and friends are happy to give me lifts home if they can :)
Because I failed my drivers test 4 times previously I thought I would post some tips on how to pass your Practical Driving Assessment:
  • Get a good sleep the night before and make sure you are wide awake before the test! I avoided caffeine before the tests as I found it made my heart race which made me more likely to have an anxiety attack (nerves and caffeine are never a good mix in my book!).
  • Wear clothing that is comfortable and allows easy movement in the arms, also wear shoes that will stay on your feet (no thongs (flipflops) or flats that won't stay on your feet!). I wore jeans, boots, a 3/4 sleeved top and a loose cardigan which meant that I was comfortable and didn't feel restricted when I was turning the steering wheel. If you have long hair make sure it is out of your face and if you prefer to wear sunglasses when you drive take them with you (even if the sun isn't out and they stay on your head the whole time, it feels good knowing you have them just in case there is a glare)
  • Arrive early. Its recommended that you arrive at least 15 minutes early and by arriving early you will feel less rushed and have a few minutes to gather your thoughts and calm down before the test.
  • Have a decent meal/snack before you go depending on the time of your test. I have to force myself to eat when I am nervous but I always try to force something down whether it be a nut bar or a handful of nuts or Nutella on bread or a baked bean and cheese toasted sandwich just make sure it will fill you up. There is nothing worse than your stomach rumbling during a test which will distract you.
  • Book a lesson a couple of days before. This isn't a must but it will help, and it will help brush up your skills and work out what you need to work on. Also many instructors will book you in for a lesson before your test if you decide to go through them, I found that it didn't help me at all and actually made me more nervous (which impacted my driving), when I did it in my Mum's car I only drove to the licensing centre and around the area for 10-15 minutes before hand.
  • Drive everyday leading up to the test. This really helped me and is what I think helped me finally pass my test. I practiced my reverse parking everyday non stop leading up to my last test and I felt confident that I could pass it, even though I didn't end up doing it (which is what I failed on last time, go figure!) I still felt confident and knew that I could do it.
  • Mix up your test locations. This really helped me, after failing 3 times at one location I decided to try another location which was less busy and I didn't really know (which made me pay more attention). Ask around where your friends did their tests as the chances are some places may be easier than others (or have more understanding instructors if you have anxiety etc. ).
  • Paint your thumb nails a bright colour. I don't know how much this really helped, but I found I was more aware where my hands were on the steering wheel as the polish really made my nails 'pop' against the steering wheel.
  • Take note of the time of your test. Try to aim to get a test for the middle of the day during the school term (less cars on the road) but if you do get an early/late test take note of any school zones and make sure to go the speed limit through them.
  • Finally do what works for you. In the end I eventually passed my test in my Mum's car, in a different location as to where I took lessons and it was on my 5th go. Its not uncommon to fail on your first (or second or third or forth you get the idea!) go and you will eventually get it, this coming from someone who has anxiety and co-ordination issues (Dyspraxia gotta love it!) and want to give up so many times but didn't.  
My next aim is to get a job, which God willing will happen soon! I figure if I finally passed my drivers test a job has to be in the near future :)

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