Comments By Matt H.

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  • Matt H.
  • Joined:
  • 7 years, 11 months ago
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Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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Quarter Ton Trucking

A bit late here on an update, but an update nonetheless.

Class ended up delayed until the 25th, so in less than 24 hours I finally start. I believe I have everything I need, except sunscreen. I will pick that up at the CVS around the corner tomorrow morning. We are supposed to be outside quite a bit the first day, and the forecast is sunny all afternoon tomorrow. Definitely want to try and avoid getting burnt and having to deal with that as a distraction in the coming days while trying to focus on learning.

With the extra week, I got some things done. I had the front ball joints replaced on my pickup and the fuel system cleaned. That was quite a big bill, but now it should be ready to reliably get me back and forth from school the next 4 weeks, and make a trip down to Georgia right after I finish school to bring my dog to my sister. Even if I went with a pet friendly company, I wouldn't bring my dog along during training and I would want at least a couple months starting solo without the distraction of a pet on board, so to Georgia he will go.

I did some studying, especially on log books. I believe I understand the regulations well now, have a decent idea at how to manage time, and I think I managed to fully understand the 8/2 split

At the end of last week, when I found out class was delayed until the 25th, I made an appointment with a sleep specialist. I did not believe I had sleep apnea, but I wanted to know sooner rather than later if I did. They were able to rush me in on Wednesday to talk with a specialist. That went fine, and I had a chance to see my weight was continuing to drop and that my blood pressure was excellent, which had both been points of worry when I started planning for a career change to trucking.

The specialist checked me out and said that she could not normally recommend me for a sleep study based on just my weight, without any other symptoms or health issues that could point to a problem. My insurance however allows for a sleep study to be done without doctor approval, so I was able to setup an appointment for the beginning of August at a sleep center.

The day after meeting with the specialist, the sleep center called me and said they had a cancellation. I got to hop ahead in line and had my sleep study done this past Friday night. I won't get the formal results for a couple weeks once the sleep specialist looks them over, but I felt like I slept fine, I didn't have any big issues with wires coming off from movement, and I was not woken up to have a CPAP put on.

I am glad I got it done because tomorrow morning I can go into school without that worry on my mind. I don't mind if I have to do another physical or sleep study now because they aren't unknowns anymore. I can go to a company confidence in my health and lack of sleep apnea, and take their tests without unknowns worrying me.

This Saturday and Sunday I have been trying to take things easy. I feel like I have prepared well and checked all the major stuff off my list. Trying to make myself relax has been a bit difficult, but yesterday I spent the day with family by the lake. Today I have some errands to run and I am going to try and spend the evening with a friend so I keep myself distracted and come home tired and ready to just fall asleep. I plan to be up 2 hours before I need to be at school tomorrow. 30 minutes to get ready, 30 minutes to drive there, 30 minutes for stopping at the gas station on the way and at CVS to pick up some sunblock, and 30 minutes to just be early (or save me if traffic is slow).

I am excited, nervous, confident in my preparation, and ready to go!

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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Looking to start a career

Why do you want "urine only testing"?

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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FAFSA or Aide paying for school

I don't know anything about the Truck Driving Institute in Indianapolis, but you mention it being a short class.

How short is short? If you aren't getting at least 120 hours, you could find yourself with some issues in getting hired at certain companies. Some will even pass on 120 and expect 160.

Since you seem to have a specific company in mind, contact them to check what their school hours minimum requirements are for students coming from private schools. After you get that answer, ask if they hire from the school you are looking into. On the school side, ask them what companies have recruiters come out to meet you while you are in school.

I understand you may have a specific company in mind, but you should definitely talk to the school, before you sign up, to ask them who is hiring for your expected graduation date and what companies fit the things that you want from your future employer.

As for money issues, mostly everyone has them as they are entering trucking. There are some people coming into it from good paying jobs as they look for a lifestyle change rather than an income upgrade, but a lot more are looking for the financial boost trucking can offer them. Having some savings is good, but 1.5 months leaves you with only a half month when you finish a 160 hour course.

What might be something for you to think about is a school that offers a weekend schedule, taking more weeks to be trained but allowing for you to work a job during the week. With a family, 1.5 months saved, at least to me, seems like what you would want after school while you were starting training and on a reduced income.

Best of luck going forward and I hope you get where you want to be.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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Does this sound like a good business plan?

This site might be helpful to you in your research and planning.

OOIDA - Education Tools

It was recommended by Brett in another thread.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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How hard is the written CDL test?

Did the basic CDL A (General, Combination, and Air Brakes) written last week, no endorsements because of being in a bit of a rush to be school ready at the time. Written test is just at your local DMV.

Passed without issues first try. Definitely giving credit to the constant onslaught of review questions in the High Road Training Program here on TT.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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School has a 100% graduation rate

Definition of "graduation" please.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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What are some hobbies you do?

My phone is a hotspot. The issue with Internet is I don't have enough haha. I got 35gb of data but it still isn't enough because I I watch a lot of youtube. I would go with a different carrier, but everywhere I go with Verizon I always have service.

Search eBay for Verizon Unlimited Data Plan. There are sellers who offer the old unlimited plan that Verizon had. They sell you a hotspot device and then you pay monthly.

Will set you back a bit but if you know how to chew through some gigs every month, you can get your money's worth and then some. When you find some sellers, just check their feedback. Some will also just sell you the monthly service if you send them a question about it and already have a Verizon hotspot.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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General Permit

I brought both with me, but they only looked at my birth certificate and driver's license. Not sure if that was standard statewide or just up to whoever is working.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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What are some hobbies you do?

Also does anyone have a kindle? I am thinking of getting one and don't know if I'll like it.

What reason were you thinking of getting it for? Were you looking at the Kindle E-readers just as a book replacement, or one of the Fire's?

As for different hobbies, I would imagine that thinking small would be the way to go. What about knitting/crocheting? You can get started in that quite cheap (under $20), have tons of resources on it online, plenty of communities out there to chat with people about it, and I have never been to a Walmart that didn't have a section with the supplies you need to restock.

Do you have the patience for fine detail things like making models? Again, you can get what you need at Walmart and the cost to get started is quite cheap. Plenty of online resources and communities to talk about it.

How about learning an instrument like guitar? Costs a bit to get into (couple hundred for a decent beginner guitar) but upkeep costs are quite cheap. Again, plenty online and can be a great fit if you already really enjoy music. You could pick up a keyboard if guitar doesn't suit you. A cheaper Casio will run you only $50. You can pick up an adapter later to hook into a laptop and get involved in using music production software to really get some extra miles out of it.

If you can be an adventurous eater, how about cooking? I imagine someone could spend a ton of time trying out different recipes and methods of cooking in a truck. Between looking at possible recipes, doing the shopping, and perfecting your cooking skills, you should be able to fill a lot of time. You already eat, and if you eat out a lot, your food cost may drop overall.

You are traveling around so how about photography? You can start with just learning how to get the most out of a smart phone or tablet camera, then add higher end equipment later on. You could combine it with blogging, talking about where you have been and what you have seen, or try your hand at vlogging/YouTube. That might seem like it is just talking to a camera, but if you treat it seriously and start to get into editing on a laptop, you will see that you can dump tons and tons of time into doing it.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

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General Permit

I just went and got my CLP last week. The General Knowledge was not hard, with at least 10 questions being common sense. There were questions in the test about air brakes and combination vehicles, but that was no problem as I had studied those sections so I could take those specific tests also (part of a basic Class A). The only difficulties I encountered were a few with terrible wording, and the fact that the testing area was open to the general lobby so noise was a big distraction.

When I go back to upgrade from CLP to CDL, I plan to do the written tests for Hazmat, Tankers, and Doubles/Triples. I will be bringing something to shove in my ears (cotton balls, ear plugs, ....?) for those tests because, while having 30 ppl talking loudly right behind you in a space that bounces sound all over might be a good simulation for those taking Passenger and School Bus endorsement written tests, I don't need that "level of realism" for what I am testing on.

Studying just the High Road program here should have you feeling very comfortable once you start seeing questions pop up. A few might throw you because of wording or being state specific, but you should be able to figure them out. Even if you don't you will quickly see that you know more than enough to get 40 out of 50 questions right to pass. One other thing I think is worth noting from my experience, is that Michigan's tests only have 3 answers to choose from instead of 4 like you see in High Road.

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