Profile For Mnemnosyne

Mnemnosyne's Info

  • Location:
    OH

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 6 months ago

Mnemnosyne's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  11 months ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

I kind of drifted off of posting this, cause things were going really slowly and there wasn't much of interest to report, and I started to feel like any further updates would be less 'interesting update' and more 'repetitive griping'.

Still, I stuck with it and just kept at it, day after day and week after week. Two months since I first got here (and the papers they sent me on application said it would be 17 days, har har) I took my state CDL test yesterday, and I passed on the first try. As soon as they let me go after that, I hurried down to the BMV and got my license updated; I now have the temporary papers, awaiting to be mailed the final plastic version of my full Class A CDL (with a tanker endorsement, even, although I don't at the moment have any intention of driving a tanker).

I will say that having practiced and experienced driving a manual, I hope to never do so again now. It's physically demanding, it's extremely distracting for someone who isn't highly used to it (and on some small level it probably remains a distraction forever, even if not much of one) and it seems dangerous and unnecessary when the technology exists to eliminate all that shifting hassle. So I just hope that Swift does not assign me a manual; I think it's one of the things that might drive me to seek out another company as soon as is reasonably possible if they do, but I suspect they won't; most of those who graduated a while before me and I've heard about getting their trucks are getting automatics, so I don't think I have to worry.

Anyway, good day! I finally have my license. My orientation begins next monday, after which hopefully there will be a mentor available without too much of a wait, and then I can REALLY get started learning to drive.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

Today was a pretty good day - not only has the weather cooled down, but I landed most of the maneuvers I practiced without a hitch, except for the alley dock - I can see that one just requires a better understanding of what the truck will do, while the others can be perfected with carefully followed instructions.

In other good news, a couple members of my class passed their range evaluations, so starting Monday they will move to the on road portion of training. I hope to be ready to evaluate by mid next week. Definitely not going to rush before I'm ready though.

One nice (from my perspective) thing that happened is that one of the trucks broke down the other day, and they brought in a newer and nicer truck for a bit, which I got to try out. Unlike these older, beat up ones we've been practicing on, the newer one handled so smoothly and didn't give me any trouble with the shifting or anything. Now that's a truck that gives me good hopes that I'll have something that nice in a few months when they assign me mine.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

They're definitely overcrowded here; they've now stopped taking new students for the next two weeks until they clear out the backlog. Apparently has to do with state test dates having been overcrowded for a while. At least, that's what some of the instructors have been saying, if a little more vaguely than that.

Anyway, overcrowded or not, I'm genuinely surprised I haven't gotten discouraged at all. Knowing myself and seeing how the weather has been, I imagined myself struggling not to quit, but I haven't really been feeling like quitting at all; I am still excited and anxious to move forward.

This week, I've gotten a couple more maneuvers down pretty solidly; I can parallel park on both sides with some degree of confidence, and I can do the offset. Haven't had much time to practice the 90 degree alley dock, but the one opportunity I had, I did reasonably well - I only had to reset to starting position 3 times to get it done, and I managed to not hit any cones either. Once I am good enough on these to evaluate, probably early next week, given limited time for practice, I will be moved on to practicing for the road test.

Little scared of that to be honest; on the road, things might go wrong if I hesitate. On the range I am unlikely to make a serious error as long as I stop at the first sign of a problem. But I'm not doing bad, so I suppose I'll manage.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

So, all week I have been so tired when I get back to the hotel that I basically only take a shower, get things ready for the morning, and eat, then go to sleep (not necessarily in that order). So I haven't really updated because of that.

It was our first week out on the range. The Columbus academy seems to have a real glut of students at the moment, but it's improving a little as people either pass or quit. Still, the large number of students means we're not getting that much time behind the wheel, it seems.

That said, I have to give tremendous credit to the instructors here. They help as much as they need to, and if we listen, we start getting the maneuvers quickly. I got the straight line back after only three times in the truck. The parallels, blind and sight side, I'm pretty close on (I still overshoot too much because I'm missing the cues I've been told to watch for) and the 90 degree alley dock I got on my first time in the truck trying it, just needed to reset three times.

I might be ready to evaluate by the end of next week, and certainly by the following week if not. Then it will be off to driving.

The weather, however, has been miserably hot, and the large number of students means a lot of waiting around in the sun. Kind of wish I had waited a month before coming so I would be getting nice fall weather instead of these sweltering temperatures. But I didn't want to give myself a chance to lose my motivation.

Each time I do well, it really helps my morale, and I'm more confident than ever that I'm going to stick with it and make it through not just school but on the road.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

Well, I haven't updated this in a bit because it didn't feel like I had much to say, but it's more been me putting it off and being pretty busy. I passed my permit test on the first try, although there were some questions in General Knowledge I don't think I was quite prepared for - probably Ohio specific stuff, I think, since most of my preparation was with the High Road training program. Still, pass on first try is nice. The air brakes and combination vehicles sections I passed with zero mistakes, and same with the tanker endorsement I decided to go for at the same time (it may be different in other states, but here there's no downside to trying and failing an endorsement, it just means you don't get it at the moment.) I also tried the Hazmat even though I wasn't all that ready for it, and predictably failed, but as noted, no downside in that.

The academy is nice, and so are the instructors, but damn is it busy. Apparently the recruiters are sending a little too many people here, where Swift's academy here in Columbus isn't anywhere near as big as Memphis or...Phoenix, I think they mentioned. We've got classes crammed into each other and instructors run ragged trying to keep up. It amazed me how many people quit so quickly, too; a couple left when they heard there was going to be a drug test. Really? How can you be so oblivious as to get here in the first place without realizing that?

This week has been a lot of classroom reading and...due to the busy situation, a lot of self-study sort of thing where we're told to read this or that and then the instructor has to do a bunch of paperwork or be running around. Some of the students have made it difficult to study at times like that because they get to talking too much, but overall it's been okay. Today we were taken out on the range for the first time simply to see a pre-trip in person and see some of the students doing the maneuvers we should be on next week. I think it was also to give the instructors some time to catch up, while still giving us something useful to do - actually seeing the truck and such has really helped me, at least.

A lot of people have left, too. A couple seemed to leave earlier in the week because class didn't end at the appointed time - or at least that seems like their reason, because one of them kept complaining and getting up over and over when things ran late, and another just left today, saying one of the instructors was misleading him. I can't say he had a particularly positive attitude, so I am not particularly inclined to believe his claims. He was in the class from a week before me, not mine, so I didn't have much time with him, but one of the guys that was in his class seemed to think he didn't have a great attitude. Most of my class has a decent attitude, even if they are a little too talky at times.

I'm not really nervous like I was a couple weeks ago anymore, much more at ease myself, and excited to continue. I am looking forward to next week when we actually get out on the range, and I hope I can do well; it's clear there will be a lot to pick up, just for passing the state tests, to say nothing of actually driving. I kind of wish we were being trained and tested on automatics because honestly I'm not interested in driving a manual, but I suppose it's still a useful skill to have at some point in the future.

In any case, will try and update some more over the next week as things get more interesting.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

And yeah, I'm not too stressed about things. Other than annoyance at these little snafus, I'm pretty relaxed and optimistic.

And thanks for the links and encouragement.

Also, apparently the State testing locations are backed up and it's being hard to get us tests scheduled until September, so maybe the delay in my case won't turn out to be too bad.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

My plan is to head to dry van division.

Apparently the Columbus academy has been somewhat consolidated in classes, and they combined permit and CDL classes. Many of the other students already have their permits, and my instructor says it wouldn't be a bad idea to go home, get the permit, and return next week. It seems as though my recruiter had something of an oversight in not informing me that I could do that.

I may do so, as I could retrieve my forgotten stuff, and drive down in my car since it seems like it's be useful to grab some food and such; bringing lunches and such seems healthier and less expensive than eating out of vending machines at the academy, heh.

I am currently waiting with much of my class for a drug screen though, so it'll be decided exactly what to do after this. At worst, seems like it'll delay things by a week. If I stay, what will happen is next week after I get my permit, I'd just be attending a repeat of everything I went through this week.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Going to training with Swift in Columbus.

So, I am currently on the bus on my way to Columbus. Tomorrow my classes start at the Swift academy, and I'm going to try to post my experiences like many of you have.

So far, my nevousness and unfamiliarity with things has had me forget my paper copy of the CDL manual, my iPad, and a nice flashlight that I bought specifically for this. Sigh. First time I've ever been on a bus, and the place where I got on was closed up, so I freaked out a little thinking I couldn't get my ticket. That made me forget stuff in the car. Fortunately I have everything really critical.

Now it's off to the hotel when I arrive, hope I can sleep well with all these jitters, and up super early so I don't miss the shuttle to the academy.

I hope people find this interesting, and that I have time to keep updating. And also hope I get over being nervous soon. Can't let jitters screw me up.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Should I choose a company that trains on automatic transmissions and have that restriction on my CDL?

Personally, I would prefer to be trained in an automatic (no idea if I will be, not something I've asked; I'll learn however they choose to teach me). As long as my company knows what they're training me in and will give me an appropriate truck, I would vastly prefer to not have to deal with the extra hassle and attention I'd need to pay to clutch and shift. And it's probably easier to learn to drive a truck without having an extra thing to worry about, since there's already enough things demanding our attention when we're first learning. Testing for it later, if necessary, would mean learning just one thing after being familiar with driving in the first place.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Should I choose a company that trains on automatic transmissions and have that restriction on my CDL?

Ah, I see. I didn't realize that an automatic transmission on a truck and a car were essentially completely different devices that perform a similar task in very different ways.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Should I choose a company that trains on automatic transmissions and have that restriction on my CDL?

Automatics are here to stay because:

  • They are more fuel efficient
  • You can't hurt the engine by over-revving it on the downhills
  • Eliminating the need to shift has removed a big distraction for the driver so you can now focus better on more important things
  • It eliminates the danger of missing a gear on a downhill, and the inconvenience and danger of missing one on a big climb
  • It makes the initial CDL training faster and easier for new drivers
  • It eliminates an intimidating factor that prevents some people from taking a shot at trucking when in fact there is a big demand for drivers

I could go on, and in fact I may write an article about this at some point.

As someone new to trucking, I'm wondering why it's only now that automatics are being adopted. Manual transmission cars have been rare for my entire life - I've never been in one, to my knowledge. With all these advantages, why has it taken so long for manuals to start disappearing from trucks?

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

New hopeful driver saying hi.

Welcome to the forum, Mnemnosyne, and also, welcome to Swift. I've been with Swift for almost four years, and in my first year had no problem moving along three different trucking operations: OTR, shuttle and dedicated regional. So your idea of trying and finding your career "sweet spot" might work. BTW, where will you be going to the Swift Academy? I'm now an instructor in Memphis.

Look for an inverter that plugs in to the 12 "cigarette lighter" socket. Most of these go up to 130W, though you might find higher wattage. Swift will not allow inverters that connect directly to the batteries.

I'm going to be in Columbus; I currently live in northern Ohio and was told that I would be sent to the nearest one.

And thank you for the welcome, and the information about the inverter; so my power limit's going to be whatever I can get an inverter for that will plug into the cigarette lighter. That gives me a good baseline to work with so I can start planning what kind of computer I'll want to get that I'll be able to use.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

New hopeful driver saying hi.

Thanks, and read that post you linked. What you said about someone trusting me and giving me a shot is exactly how I feel; I'm sure I seem like a big risk, even more than many, with my near-nonexistent work history to back up how I say I'm going to do a good job and work hard. I wouldn't feel right doing anything but trying my damndest to repay the trust someone's putting in me by driving as well as I can for them.

Posted:  1 year, 1 month ago

View Topic:

New hopeful driver saying hi.

Hey folks. I've been lurking around here from time to time for a little over a year and a half now, and I was considering looking to become a driver last year, but stuff happened and I got delayed.

Now I'm back on track; I've started studying, I put in an application to Swift (mostly because I agreed with the reasoning behind the advice of picking a large carrier due to them having lots of resources to keep me going, and because I figured the largest carrier would also have plenty of opportunities to transfer in-company if I should want to later) and they've responded positively; my recruiter says she can't give me a firm schedule more than two weeks out, but on monday I should call her and she'll set me up to start my training on the 13th.

So, now I'm studying hard while working out my last two weeks as a Walmart associate, and hopefully I'll start training and do well. Naturally, I'm nervous, scared, excited, and sometimes swing between being optimistic and dreading the bad turnout, but I think I'll be okay. At the very least, I'm planning to commit myself to doing well and sticking it out for a year or two no matter how rough they are.

I'm saying hello because, well, a lot of what I've read on this site has been encouraging even when it's being pointed out how hard it is, and it looks like people get a lot of good advice and responses (including the calling people out when they're being stupid).

I do have a question that I intend to re-ask my recruiter, but I figured someone else here might know just as well also. I know I'm going to want a laptop for gaming, for internet, etc, when I'm on the road. Does anyone know what my power limits are likely to be in a Swift truck? I don't want to go getting a laptop that's going to demand more wattage than I can have available. I'm probably going to wait until I actually get assigned a truck and am sure of exactly what wattage I can make use of, but I'm a little curious if anyone can give me any information so I can start making plans early.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Previous employment history

I have a similar problem; I've got no employment history, since I've never actually been employed before (I'm a pretty big introvert and I've never had to work since I've been able to stay home, so I haven't). After doing some cross-country driving and enjoying it enough to realize I could probably handle truck driving pretty well, (especially since I could easily be on the road all the time without home time being a big deal for me) I decided to look into it, but I have no employment history at all (and I'm in my 30s).

Based on the idea that truck drivers that are qualified and have no negative marks on their history have a very easy time getting jobs, I hoped that it would make it easier for me to get into this line of work, but as I'm starting to look, I'm seeing the same thing - a lot of required employment history. Is there any good advice out there on overcoming the lack of employment history as an obstacle? I should probably add that due to the aforementioned introversion, I have basically no friends from activities that I could use as references either, only family.

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