Comments By AdkMatt

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  • AdkMatt
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Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 14

So yesterday was the first day of road training. Luckily there were only 3 students to our truck. I managed to pick up shifting waaaay faster than I thought I would, well enough when us 3 all had a turn, the instructor picked me to jump on the highway and take us back into town. I have to admit, once I had everything nailed down, it was really fun (I hope that's a good thing.)

My truckmates didn't care as well though. One decided he wasn't going to give commentary at all (which really ****ed the instructor off) and was constantly losing his gears when it was time to slow down. The other talked all the time but he would make simple mistakes (like starting a downshift at a high rpm) and would continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited to drive again today. Only difference here is now the trailer will be loaded.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 13

Oh man, that was a nice weekend. Saturday, we were in the classroom to take a hours of service and trip mapping/planning test. Had yesterday off to lay down and watch crime dramas all day.

So today is the first day of road training. I assume we're going down to MS or AR to find a desolate road to learn double-clutch shifting. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 10

I passed my backing skills evaluation! By some miracle, I managed to complete all my skills and only get one point (you are allowed to get 10 points before you fail). Most of my class wasn't as lucky though. Only 8 out of the 34 of us left managed to pass. The ones who failed get another chance to pass it today, and the ones who don't have to stay an extra week and try again.

So today will just be pretty chill, a little practice time on the range before road training starts in a couple days. And I'll keep my eye trained on that access road for Errol today, haha.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 9

So today is a pretty big day: Backing Skills Evaluation day. I feel rather confident in myself for my skills, including the 90 degree. The overwhelming majority of the rest of the class, however, does not. Everybody is getting sick now and some people are isolating themselves to try preventing sickness. But considering everyone has to put their cell phones in a small box before going out to the range, it's a feeble effort.

I came back to my hotel room last night to find a man more than twice my age napping, haha. Turns out he has road training to finish, so they let him come back in the middle of the week, but I guess he'll be gone again in a couple days anyway.

That's pretty much it for now. I'll probably make a short post later tonight to tell you how my evaluation went.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 8

Ok, only got 15 minutes to write this one, so it's going to be quick.

So I'm starting to notice that morale is going down among our group. People are getting more irritable every day. Yesterday, we had our pre-trip inspection evaluation, and close to 50% of our class failed, including myself. I'm quite irritated by this because I looked at my academy catalog later on and it says you need to get 80% or better to pass the evaluation. I missed one point on a 32-point section of the inspection.

So beside that, quite a lot of our class is starting to feel hopeless about evaluating for our backing skills tomorrow. We have all day today to practice, but that doesn't really amount to much considering there are so many students that we still need 4 students to share every truck. I guess when it comes down to it, I suppose a lot of people just haven't learned to 'drive' the trailer. I feel pretty good about it, but I see a lot of my class going on academic probation next week.

Ah well, only a few more days til road training I guess.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

In your contract signing time, the instructor (is it still Tony? If so, compliment him on his flat-top if he had one.)

Yes, it is still Tony, haha. However, he is going on vacation next week, so it'll be Alvin for a little bit.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

I just looked at my card I recently got and the first "intrastate box is checked No but 2nd box CDL is checked no, can you confirm for me that for sure the cdl box should be checkedyes. Thanks anybody for your help.

Yes, your CDL box does need to be marked "yes". However, for some people, they were able to allow those folks to take another physical at the academy here so they could get that changed. I'm not sure what would qualify someone for that though, so it would be best to ask your recruiter before going.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 7

So another day in the classroom, which I couldn't be happier about since it's the last chance to rest my legs before spending the rest of the week on the backing range. We learned about map reading and trip planning which we spent all day on, so it was pretty chill. I take back what I said about the Swift cafeteria actually, they know how to make a mean hot dog :)

Anyway, Day 8 is upon us. Probably learning some new backing skills today, so I'll be looking forward to going to bed early for sure.

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAYS 4, 5, AND 6

So it's been a few days since I last updated the journal. The main reason being that we started to study on the pre-trip inspection materials. So pretty much every night, the a couple other students and myself will have a study session in out conference room at the hotel. It becomes a lot easier to get a rhythm down once you know how to correct parts in a logical order (i.e. Air lines, brake chamber, slack adjuster/push rod, brake pad, brake drum).

So if I'm honest, I don't really 'feel' the intensity yet. I know I heard it from just about everyone. I know there are plenty of people in my class that are losing their minds because they either can't get down the pre-trip inspection, or they barely passed their second assessment of straight-line backing, or maybe they nearly destroyed a kingpin trying to learn how to drop-and-hook the other day.

Anyway, class is about to start, so this is a short journal entry today. People are starting to get annoyed with each other, everybody is sick with the same thing. I think we're just ready for this to be over. 2 more weeks to go though!

Posted:  8 years, 8 months ago

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Swift School Diary (Memphis) starting 11/2

DAY 3

Wow, what a day. I went from having a sore ass to having sore feet today. We spent all day out on the range. And if you haven't noticed, I'm writing this update at 5:30am on day 4. That's because I was so beat after yesterday's class, I went straight back to the hotel and slept for nearly 10 hours. According to my Fitbit, I burned just over 5000 calories, walked 6 and a half miles, and had an average heart rate of 105bpm for the entire day. And it being nearly 80 degrees in November doesn't help either.

So today was pretty straightforward since we only worked on a couple things. First, we learned how to open a truck's hood to check our fluids. Then the instructors took us inside the trucks and gave us a demonstration on how to operate the clutch, shift into 1st and reverse, how to read the pressure gauges, and how to adjust the seat and mirrors. Then, they showed us how do straight-line backing with a trailer, using the 'steer toward the danger' to make corrections.

After that, they turned us loose to start doing it on our own. If I'm honest, taking this approach had mixed results. Some of us (including myself) were able to pick it up after the 1st or 2nd attempt. For However, there were a lot of students that couldn't get it down at all. There were only 2 instructors with us watching over 36 students in 10 trucks.

As soon as my group had it down, we spread out to help the groups that were struggling, because at the end of the day, there would be an assessment of the straight-line backing skill. If you fail the assessment, you must take it again the next morning, if you fail again, you are sent home. They don't do this because they are very strict, they do it because it is your last chance to leave the program without being held to your tuition and housing contract.

Because my group spread out to spot for and help other groups, we ended up only getting about 1.5 hours of drive time, which is disappointing. However, I see us getting better drive times today (day 4) because I'm pretty sure 5-8 people will be going home today after their second attempt. They told us in the last 6 weeks, they only had to send 1 person home from this assessment. So I guess I'm seeing the effects being in a larger than normal class is having.

Anyway I'm not sure what's in store for us today, but I'll write another update tonight if I don't immediately pass out at the hotel again, haha. That's all for now :)

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