Profile For Shawn

Shawn's Info

  • Location:
    Elizabeth, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 1 month ago

Shawn's Bio

My name is Shawn, 31 years old from just outside Pittsburgh, PA. I have decided on a career change and that change has led me here to learn more about the profession, learn from those who have done it for a long time, and talk to those who will be able to give me the guidance I need on this new journey.

I grew up with a father who was a trucker, and I know how hard this profession can be just for the families involved. I have a girlfriend of a little over a year and after a lot of talking we both agree this is something I need to do. I worked in transportation as a dispatcher/lumper for almost three years while in college, and when I did that I learned a lot about what goes in to being a trucker and the kind of mentality you have to have while out on the road for weeks at a time.

I am excited about this new experience and about all the learning experiences that I know I have ahead of me.

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Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

That's an old line they said you about "forgetting everything". Forget they said that!

Look at it this way. What are you getting the most practice in? Backing! Backing is the hardest thing in trucking to get your brain wrapped around.

There's about 20 million OTR drivers in the United States, and they all had to start somewhere!

I can definitely agree with the backing comment. That is the one thing that drove me nuts this week and no matter how many times the instructors would tell me "you will never be great at it, only get a little better each time" it still made me kick the dirt and swear when I would mess up an easy straight line back, or at least what I perceived to be easy. I do think about it far too much to the point I mess myself up and end up having to make a correction more difficult that the backing job I would have had to make in the first place. But with time comes practice, and in the whole scheme of things I am just starting out and I am hoping time brings more confidence the more I do it.

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

Well, I made it to PAM on Sunday afternoon after leaving Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon on a bus to Arkansas. One thing I can say about that is: I NEVER want to ride a bus that long again in my life! I tried to make the best of it though, as much as one person can.

I haven't been on to update about my week so I am going to try and condence it into this one reply.

Monday started out with being told by an OTR trainer to forget what I learned in school, this is the real world now. We spent the day in class going over a bunch of this like safety, backing, turning, logs, and other stuff.

Tuesday was spent on the range backing, which I just screwed up as bad as one could without hitting anything. I spent that night thinking maybe I am not cut out for this career. The trainers were hard on me, but I should expect that. This isn't school anymore, this is the company that is going to allow me to drive one of their trucks.

Wednesday was back to class for more on logs and more safety classes. We went over a little of pre-trip, which I only learned a little of when I was in school. I know more than what I learned in school, but still not enough at this point say I am comfortable with it.

Today was spent back on the range with more backing and a little pre-trip. I still have some doubt in my mind that I can even do this, but I am trying my best to overcome that. I know it's more about me being new and not that I won't get better at my job over time, but that time seems so long from now sometimes. The last thing I want to be is a quiter, especially since I do want to do this. There will be good and bad days, and I just have to get myself used to that just like I would in any other job.

So, tomorrow is the final day of orientation where I will find out who my OTR trainer is and if I have to hop on another bus this weekend to go meet him. I'm nervous about the whole thing to say the least, but I have come this far!

I will try to update on how the two weeks out with my trainer is going when Ibget a chance.

Thanks everyone for reading!

Posted:  6 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

The day after my last post, I am happy to say, I passed my alley dock and got out of Philly as fast as I could!

It was a good experience and I learned enough to pass, but I am excited to get down to Arkansas for orientation and start learning the real ways of the road. I am going into this like I did with the training, I don't know anything that these trainers know, I am new to all of this and hopefully I will learn a lot in this part of my training.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading and thanks Errol for the good advice and well wishes through this part of my training. I was told I would be scheduled for orintation in Arkansas with PAM as soon as I got my license in the mail, so hopefully that happens sooner than later. I will try to keep up with this as much as possible through orintation and the over the road training process.

Thanks again everyone!

Posted:  6 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

I know I haven't kept up with this, but I did want to give a few thoughts about my experiences while at AAA School of Trucking. Im at the beginning of my forth week, and yesterday I took my road/skills test and passed everything except for alley docking, which means today or tomorrow I will have to re-take that portion of the test.

I have learned a lot since coming here earlier this month. The school is not so bad, the trainers really do take the time with you if you need help with something. The only bad thing is that there are times where there are far too many students for the trainers to take that time with you, but they still do their best and try to work with those who do not get it.

I am sure there are worse places and better places to go to get your CDL, but it has been a pretty good experience overall. I have met some nice people and while I know I still don't know anywhere near what I will learn out there on the road about driving a truck, I feel more confident now that I can actually do this as long as I keep my mind open and keep learning every day.

All that is left is to re-take the straight back and alley dock skills and then i will have my license. Wish me luck!

Posted:  6 years, 12 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

Day 2: Today was more classroom work. Others had to go get their permit, so I stayed in going over logs and hours of service rules.

The instructor spent the last 15 minutes trying to weed out those who might be having second thoughts about this career choice by trying to scare us all. I am sure that is normal, but I know some of what the job is going to do to me and what I am going to have to do so it didn't have an affect on me.

Tomorrow will be the first day in the truck. I look forward to it, and look forward to writing about the experience.

Posted:  6 years, 12 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

Day 1: The first day was soent in classroom getting those people ready for the permit test for thise who needed it. For me, it was a very, very, very long day of reviewing things to make sure I had the knowledge fresh in my mind for when we get in the truck on Thursday morning.

My first impression of AAA school of trucking is that it is not too bad. The classroom instruction is intense and very thorough and if I didn't have my permit I would be ready to go out and take it.

Getting a little nervous about getting in that truck on Thursday, but I am feeling more comfortable as the days go on.

It also has done nothing but rain most of the day. I was also reminded today why I hate NJ/Philly area, but I suppose learning to drive around here wont hurt and might make me more comfortable in the long run.

More tomorrow....

Posted:  7 years ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

Thanks Errol. I appreciate it. If it hasn't been for the people on this site and those around me who have a great attitude about helping others and listening to their problems and concerns while starting this new career, I am not sure I would have made it this far. There are some other trucking sites I have visited that are very negative about a lot in the industry, to the point where it seems they try to push people who want to do it away from it rather than give them some tips on how to make it a bit easier.

I look forward to writing about my experiences, and thanks again!

Posted:  7 years ago

View Topic:

Trucking school and beyond (My Jounal)

After months of trying to get to this point, I am finally here. Tomorrow morning, I will be leaving for CDL school in Philly. I will be attending the AAA School of Trucking in Philly, but I did not start out with that choice. Originally, I was set to go to train with Roehl at the beginning of October, but within two weeks I went from training with Roehl to training in Indianapolis at C1 to going to Philly and AAA and signing on with PAM. I started this process months ago and now it is finally time to leave tomorrow morning for the 5+ hour drive to my New Jersey hotel where I will be staying during the training process.

I have seen many people who have gone to training and starting their career in the trucking industry start a blog and write about their experiences. It seems to help them a little bit to get their frustrations out and also to tell other people about their experiences. I plan on doing the same. This won't be the first time blogging for me. I used to blog religiously about politics for many years. I am hoping this is more of a therapeutic release than that ever was!

I will be leaving my comfort zone to go learn to do something I never thought I would ever be doing in my life. I have put a lot of thought and research into this, and now I feel like I am ready to go. I know it will be tough, frustrating, and also enlightening at times, but each day will be a new learning experience for me.

I look forward sharing my experiences with all of you in the coming days, weeks, and months as I start my new career as a truck driver. I hope all you you enjoy it as I have enjoyed many other blogs and message boards out there through these past few months about life on the road, and life in training.

Posted:  7 years ago

View Topic:

Passed my CDL Permit test....now off to Roehl

So, my excitement to go to Roehl came to an abrupt halt almost two weeks ago now. I would love to get some input from someone who knows about this, so if you have anything to add, please do so.

I got a call from Roehl telling me that they had sent some students from PA home and PA was not giving them their Class A licenses and instead telling them they would have to re-test again in the state of PA. Because of this, and because they could find no work around, all the students they were going to bring in from PA were being told that they could no longer attend their training program and instead had to choose another option. I was told there was something new in the laws as far as how they were able to hand out licenses, because apparently before this change you received a WI license and then transferred it back to your state of residency when you returned home.

Well, because of this, and because I cannot afford to go to a school and get my license on my own, I had to start looking at other companies and their training programs. Some of them seemed to be complete ripoffs, and the others did not seem to be as good as what Roehl was offering. I knew I had to keep in mind that if I wanted to go the company training route and have it paid for, I would have to pay my dues with that company but I wanted to make sure that paying my dues did not mean I would be stuck in the same position for years. Roehl was a one year commitment and I wanted something like that.

So, after some thought and research I have decided to go with PAM. I will be starting CDL school at AAA school of trucking in Philly on Tuesday. If anyone out there has any thoughts on the school (because I have searched around and there is very little that I come across about them) or even PAM in general, I would love to hear it. I know I have to start somewhere, pay my dues, and gain experience. I have read the good, the bad, and the terrible about PAM but the way I see it is I have to start somewhere, and without the cash to put myself through CDL school the options are limited.

Posted:  7 years ago

View Topic:

Passed my CDL Permit test....now off to Roehl

I start training at roehl in appleton wi on Monday September 21st.. kinda nervous.

Good luck to you!

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Passed my CDL Permit test....now off to Roehl

Shawn, I went to Appleton for extra training after I got my CDL through their school in Marshfield. I don't think the same instructors teach RDTC as do the Phase 1 class but everyone is very professional and you will learn a lot in a short period of time. Not sure of how they do meals for the school part as I know things have changed since I went last October (we were on our own for meals), but if they provide meals take some extra cash or pb&j. We had pretty much the same thing every day and in a week it was old. Don't get me wrong I am a member of the "if it's free it's for me" club, but I still can't bear the thought of eating at Denny's!!! smile.gif

Best of luck to you!!!

Thanks Jolie! Appreciate the tips!!

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Passed my CDL Permit test....now off to Roehl

I went this morning and passed my CDL Permit test. I am so glad that part of it is over, yet I know that what is to come will be even more challenging.

Those of you who are new to this site and are studying for your permit: make sure to check out the High Road Training Program. It really does help a lot.

So, i'm off to train with Roehl on October 5th in Appleton, WI. Anyone here have any past experiences with Appleton I would live to hear about it.

Thanks everyone!

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Starting a new career

Just read your story Shawn and was surprised to see you asked about Roehl. I have been working the natural gas fields up in Rifle Co. the past year. Came straight up here out if trucking school, live in Las Vegas. Been driving water trucks, mostly straight trucks but large transports also. It is now time to move on and I was looking at Roehl. They have flatbeds out of Las Vegas and I was going to ask if anyone on here was familiar with Roehl. It was good to see someone already asked, looks like a good outfit! I was also looking at Andrus out if St. George Utah. Because it us all western state regional and close to home I thought it would be a good fit. Anyone on here know about Andrus,any info would be helpful.

Thanks, Love the site. B. Howard

They do like a good company, especially for someone like myself who is trying to break into the business. I have been having a few hiccups with them recently, but hopefully nothing that can't be worked out. I got my one year medical card at the end of last month (only one year since I have sleep apnea) and I am still waiting to hear back from them if their safety department has cleared me or not. Two weeks ago I got an e-mail from the recruiter saying safety would contact me soon, and that hasn't happened yet so a couple days ago I called and asked if there was any problems and the recruiter seemed surprised that I got my one year card. She was under the impression I only had a temp one month card.

Anyway, to make a long story short, it's a small hiccup but hopefully nothing that will keep me from going out for training sooner rather than later after I get my permit.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Starting a new career

Best of luck to ya Shawn! And definitely stick with that High Road Training Program. It's amazing. Your scores on your exams will be through the roof.

Here's how the different sections of the course break down:

To Get Your CDL Permit:

  • Rules & Regulations
  • Driving Safely
  • Transporting Cargo Safely
  • Air Brakes
  • Combination Vehicles
  • Pre-Trip Inspection
  • Driving Exam

To get your CDL endorsements which are optional but highly recommend:

  • Transporting Passengers
  • Doubles And Triples
  • Tankers
  • Hazardous Materials

Two sections we've built ourselves with info you'll need for everyday life on the road:

  • Logbook
  • Weight & Balance

Two sections for anyone considering flatbed:

  • Cargo Securement
  • New York State Coil Endorsement

The training program has been an amazing help. Just reading the manual only gets you so far, but the way the training is set up has really been a huge help when it comes to my confidence that I am actually retaining the information.

Appreciate the words of encouragement!

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Home time.. checking in

That's awesome you were able to find a company that fits your needs better than the last company you were with. It's even better you were able to spend some time with kids as well!

I'm new to the trucking world, waiting to get my call to come to train with Roehl, and I keep thinking the more time goes on the more and more impatient I am becoming about getting started, not because I am not a patient person but because I have a girlfriend at home and she has been talking about a "ring"! Got to get out there on the road and make some money, but more importantly start learning about being a real truck driver out there over the road.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Starting a new career

I went to roehl with my cdl so i dont know how the school is run but i do know the guys that were there when i was were really happy with it. I know they preach safety alot as all companies should so i was impressed with that. My advice is to do the High Road Training Program. Im also in the reefer division

Thanks for the info, Jake. I have started the High Road Training program and it is really helping a lot. I was using just the regular practice tests on the site before I signed up earlier today, but this seems very in-depth and has already helped a lot in things I thought I had down strong before but now I realize maybe I wasn't as strong as I thought at first.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Starting a new career

First, I want to say that this forum has been so helpful over the past few months while I considered a career change at 31. I grew up with a father that was a trucker, and I went through most of my young adulthood up until about 6 months ago telling myself I would never do the same thing. Truck drivers and their families make sacrifices, and I always thought since I went to college, got a degree, and even worked in my field for a few years that I would never do the same thing my father did. But about 6 months ago, after being laid off yet again, I wondered if that degree was even worth the paper it was printed on. I started looking at going back to school for something else, and that is when I came across this website. I read the forums and the information on the life of a truck driver, some I knew from past experience with my father and some things I never knew. I started to ask myself if maybe it would be a good life decision to move into a new career path, one I had told myself that I would NEVER do.

I talked with my girlfriend about it for months, and decided I would talk to my father about it. To put it mildly, he was not very thrilled at first. He lived that life and is recently out of the business of driving (although he still works in transportation as a dispatcher). He tried to talk me out of it on more than one occasion, but soon enough he came around to be supportive of the decision.

I have received an offer of employment from Roehl to work in their refrigerated division, a company that seems to be a good fit for me. I have received my medical card and will be filing the papers in my home state of PA to take the CDL permit test this week. I have been studying the book as well as the practice tests on this site for months now and finally feel like I am ready. I have worked in transportation in the past (as a dispatcher for a company in Pittsburgh, PA while I attended college) so a lot of it was just about getting back into all the rules and regulations as well the new information I have never looked at before like combination vehicles and air brakes. But, I feel like I am ready for the next chapter of this experience to begin.

I know it will be a lot different than sitting in an office, and being away from home for weeks at a time will not be great at first, but I do believe, after a lot of soul searching, that this is the right thing for me. I wanted to thank those who post here regularly for all the help you have given me so far, even though you may not have realized you have. I hope I will continue to learn more, get off to training soon, and start my new career. They have not given me a date yet, but I am guessing that is because I have not tested for my permit yet, which would make sense.

Any other Roehl drivers out there who went to training with any advice, it would sure be appreciated.

Thanks again!

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