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Beginnings

by TaoTrucker

I’ve been living quite the lie. Just this past May, I finished my first semester of Optometry school. Optometry schools are where hopeful eye doctors train for four years to be able to test eyes and prescribe contact lenses and glasses. A few weeks into the summer, after I finished my final exams, I decided that Optometry was definitely not for me and that truck driving might be a very palatable alternative. This is my story.

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It seems as if I’ve been studying and attending school for as long as I can remember. High school was a necessary evil because I was convinced that college and medical school were in my future. In order to enter into the best medical school, I obviously had to be accepted at a quality college and the only way to do that was to earn impeccable grades in high school. Resultantly, I spent way too much of my time buried in books and not enough time growing socially and intellectually with my peers.

High school passed and I was accepted at the very prestigious Wabash College. I say this not from arrogance, but just to indicate that my near hermit-like high school condition did reap positive results in regards to my post-secondary education. Although college brought new found freedom and new people to meet, I still had to face the fact that most of my productive time was spent studying or spent stressing about studying.

My greatest fear as a freshman at Wabash College was that I wouldn’t receive the near perfect grades that I thought I would need to attend medical school. Once again, my hard work paid off in a big way. I achieved close to a 4.0 GPA as a reward for spending most of my days and nights in the library.

It Wasn't Getting Any Easier

Despite my initial success, my following college years were quite tumultuous for one reason or another. I bounced from school to school and from career path to career path. All told, I attended five universities and dabbled in approximately five different majors. After failing classes in my third major, I gave up and came back home so that I could attend a community college and save some money.

I had long given up on any hopes of attending medical school, but I still wanted to follow a similar path that I now realize was just was a symptom of my decision to not live courageously. Instead of Medicine, I had now decided to take an even safer route by deciding to pursue Optometry. For me, Optometry was the safe path because my low GPA would allow me to be easily be accepted at a school and I also perceived the eventual on-the-job responsibilities to be much less intense than those that I would find in a career as a medical doctor. I guess I thought I could find enthusiasm for a career by lowering my standards.

Just Going Through The Motions

I soon found out that this wasn’t true. I eventually finished my undergraduate career with good enough grades to be accepted to Optometry school. I was very excited about starting something fresh and felt very secure knowing that I could get through four years of school and then graduate to a high paying job in which I could help people and obtain respect. The one ingredient that was missing from my plan was any actual affinity for the profession.

I went through the motions of being an Optometry student for an entire year. The signs of living dishonestly were present, but I just refused to see them. My most memorable times were spent hanging out with friends who lived in Bloomington and being with friends from Optometry school. What little time that I spent with the actual Optometry side of school was miserable. I skipped most of my classes, I rarely woke up before twelve, and I procrastinated so that I spent the entire night before a test studying.

Being True To Myself

All of this should have been a clue to the fact that Optometry was not for me. It took an intense few weeks following my final exams to find that out for sure. Earlier this summer, I took the time to find out who I was and to find out who I was not. The majority of the reasons I chose to go to Optometry school, I realized, resulted from societal and parental pressures. I most certainly did not choose Optometry based on my own reasoning. After reflection, I found that I would rather take pleasure in the simple things in life than to earn a high salary that I most likely would just spend on things I didn’t need. I also found that respect is earned, not bestowed based on your choice of profession. This is something that I didn’t know at the time and I believe many people still do not know. I resolved that I could make my own career decisions, that I could earn respect, and that I could help others without the crutch of Optometry.

This decision was very liberating but also very scary. I knew what I didn’t want to do but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. As you may have noticed, I traditionally haven’t been very good at being sure of what I want to do. After enduring further reflection, I learned to let go of my fear and realize that my fears were not nearly as big as my dreams. The happiness I want from life absolutely dwarfs anything I could be afraid of. I let go of all fears associated with choosing a career that might be personally rewarding but not financially rewarding.

After overcoming that hurdle, I thought intensely about activities and passions that I would partake in even if I was unable to procure significant monetary compensation. The first glimmer appeared when I realized how often I took long drives in my car and how much those drives simultaneously thrilled and calmed me. Thinking back, I recognized that during finals week of Optometry school, instead of studying, I was taking extended drives around Bloomington in my car. I finally realized what my passion was. I loved driving and I loved movement. This realization started small but it has since grown to a sizeable position. It grew so much in fact, that I now know that truck driving is going to be a part of my future. Follow along with me as I find out what it takes to become a truck driver and as I follow that path.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

by Brett Aquila

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

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