Dismissed From CRST School, But Armed Better Than Ever!

Topic 10400 | Page 1

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Christy R.'s Comment
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I survived a month at CRST in Cedar Rapids, IA. I didn't progress as well as they would have liked, and was dismissed, but I'm not giving up. I learned A LOT more than I ever dreamed possible & now I have an experience no one can take from me. I thought I would share some of the things your recruiter can't (or won't) tell you and offer a few tips.

1. You will need money for laundry, weekend and evening meals, and nicotine, if you need it. You will NOT receive your $40 stipend card until AFTER you have your permit in hand. If you do not arrive with all the required paperwork (ladies will need marriage certificates and divorce papers, if a name change was involved), you will have to wait before obtaining your permit. If you do not pass your permit tests the first couple of times, you could be delayed a week. Cards were being issued on Tuesdays at lunch while attending NADTA; I do not know how they are issued at Hawkeye (keep reading). You can NOT request cash from your card, even though it has a PIN. You MIGHT be able to purchase a money order with it. I meant to try, but never had the time to actually go to Walmart & try. I did, however, call. If using a pin, you can USUALLY purchase a money order at Walmart. The service desk said not to fill it out & to bring it back the next day to cash...but I didn't get past the phone call.

2. The washers & dryers are all $0.75. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR LAUNDRY UNATTENDED!

3. Nearby restaurants include KFC, Arby's & Pizza Hut.

4. Most plastic bottles are recyclable in Iowa. You will be charged a nickel for each one purchased (buy a 6 pack of Pepsi bottles, add $0.30 to your total). Take empty bottles back to Walmart (the shuttle will take you most evenings between 7 pm & 8:30 pm.) There's machines hidden in an area near the shopping carts on the grocery side of the store. This could help you with laundry money if you drink a lot of soda. Your other option is to buy something at Walmart, save your receipt & return it the next day. When they ask if you want your card credited, say no, that it was a gift card you tossed.

5. There is no where to lock up personal items. Do not bring anything you can't replace. DO bring a backpack to keep the important documents that are required & your study guides with you at all times. The Training Center (TC from here on out), is a giant dorm like building. There is three people to a room. There is no microwave or fridge in the rooms, but there is 2 microwaves & several refrigerators in the "cafeteria" for you to use. Yes, it's "open to the public." You will have to put your name on your stuff & hope for the best.

6. Wear comfortable shoes. There's a lot of hurry up & wait standing.

7. There's two schools utilized by CRST: NADTA, which is a couple of blocks west of The TC & Hawkeye, located in Waterloo, IA (I forget how many miles it is to Waterloo, but I believe at least an hour). I was assigned to NADTA.

8. NADTA has class from 6:15 am to 6:15 pm. Your first few days will not be all day, but you will attend all day for a week or more, depending on how many times you have to retest **testing begins 2 weeks after your obtain your permit**

The instructors I worked with were all AWESOME (I didn't work with all of them, but the ones I encountered truly want to see you succeed). My class was huge so I did feel that the student to instructor ratio was too high, but if you apply yourself (I tried), you can still learn everything you need to know. Do not be scared of Dave!! He's DOT certified to test you so he can't instruct you, but he can advise you. He is THE BEST at drilling you in downshifting!!! I still struggle with my downshift, but I wouldn't be able to do it at all if not for him!!! I have absolutely NOTHING nice to say about the man in charge, so I'll move on.

9. There's a CVS & Walgreens within walking distance of The TC. On the other side of Walgreens is a walk-in chiropractor which charges $25. You may need to go after being in the truck with 3 other students learning to drive & double clutch for the first time. The clinic will also give you $5 off a massage, and no, they're not Asian...there's no "happy ending" that some of you pervs may seek MONEYGRAMS-You can receive money grams at CVS, but NOT if they are sent using the Walmart to Walmart method. If you have someone send you a moneygram, they can send it from Walmart BUT need to use the correct form. There's a Goodwill between The TC and Walmart on 20th and Scotty. It was a little too far for me to walk, but some of the younger students walked it.

10. USE THE HAND SANITIZER OFTEN and take your preferred, non drowsy cold/allergy medicine. There's a creeping crud, as I like to call it, that circulates from hundreds of people being in the same building. The front desk has cleaning and sanitizing products you can use in your room.

11. There's a lot of "bums" there...they ALWAYS want to bum a cigarette but never have one for you if you need one. Keep yours hidden & don't be afraid to say no. There's cameras everywhere so if someone gets upset because you don't want to share, too bad on them. The TC does not tolerate violence including bullying.

12. An eye mask & ear plugs may be your friends if your roommates are on a different schedule than you...if you sleep with earplugs, make sure you'll be able to hear your alarm clock! There's no wake up call!

13. You'll be issued bedding for The TC. You may want your own pillow and blanket though. Goodwill may be your friend.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Scott O.'s Comment
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I heard last month that they stopped using waterloo and its just nadta and Kirkwood... Are you talking about Dennis if so he's strict but fair... The 40 dollar card is better then nothing and you can use it anywhere so it doesn't really matter about not getting cash back and sucks you can't use it for laundry but .75 cents is better then 2.25 at a truck stop.... There's a McDonald's,Buffalo wild wings long john silver too... Walgreen's has western Union... Just thought I would add to it lol.... Did they tell you about the first female to get the white hat... She was in my call lol...ok that's out of the way...

So what happen??? Is it the down shifting if so just watch your tach I mean I know its hard but keep at it and you will get it down and be like wow that was easy.... Good luck and hope everything works out for you....

Dave D. (Armyman)'s Comment
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Speaking of Truck Driving School...Flu Shots. It's been a short while since I was in school, but...I was sick (violently ill)?for a day, and about two weeks after, I was coughing and feeling like crap.

Dave

Christy R.'s Comment
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I heard last month that they stopped using waterloo and its just nadta and Kirkwood... Are you talking about Dennis if so he's strict but fair... The 40 dollar card is better then nothing and you can use it anywhere so it doesn't really matter about not getting cash back and sucks you can't use it for laundry but .75 cents is better then 2.25 at a truck stop.... There's a McDonald's,Buffalo wild wings long john silver too... Walgreen's has western Union... Just thought I would add to it lol.... Did they tell you about the first female to get the white hat... She was in my call lol...ok that's out of the way...

So what happen??? Is it the down shifting if so just watch your tach I mean I know its hard but keep at it and you will get it down and be like wow that was easy.... Good luck and hope everything works out for you....

Scott~CRST stopped using Kirkwood, not Waterloo. I don't agree about the strict, but fair, lol. I don't want to discourage anyone from going, as I am very grateful for the experience! Yes, downshifting was my main downfall. I failed the first two times for failure to find my gear which resulted in coasting (I didn't even make it past Menards). On test 3, I hit the curb kn Wiles and 16th :( I worked with Dave, Phil, Red and George and got better, but I still ground my gears. I also received too many points for little things, such as either leaving my blinker on too long, or not long enough. I deserved to fail, I definitely need more practice, but I'm proud of myself for making it past Menards on test 4! Not only did I suffer from the TC Creeping Crud, I also passed a kidney stone. I was put on narcotics in the emergency room and had to wait 3 days before I could leave the track to take my first test. While I was ill, I told Dennis my motivation had been fractured. In my opinion, he held that against me, and I agree I shouldn't have said it; but other students received more than 4 tries to pass the road test... (I was also one of the lucky few who had an auditor on the truck along with an examiner). As I mentioned, I am proud of myself. I'm an older dog learning a new trick and I am grateful for the experience. I feel way more comfortable in my search for the next company so I can complete my training!

Christy R.'s Comment
member avatar

Speaking of Truck Driving School...Flu Shots. It's been a short while since I was in school, but...I was sick (violently ill)?for a day, and about two weeks after, I was coughing and feeling like crap.

Dave

I'm still recovering lol

Christy R.'s Comment
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I neglected to mention that The TC does not offer towels; if you are married, you'll be staying at a hotel and won't need any. I also recommend a reading light. There's not any in the TC rooms.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Wow, Christy I'm sorry it didn't work out for you there, but your cheerful and positive attitude is absolutely inspiring!!!

Keep at it and don't get discouraged (I have a feeling you won't). I believe you will be a great driver someday very soon. Keep us posted!

Christy R.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, Christy I'm sorry it didn't work out for you there, but your cheerful and positive attitude is absolutely inspiring!!!

Keep at it and don't get discouraged (I have a feeling you won't). I believe you will be a great driver someday very soon. Keep us posted!

Thank you!! I just need more time to practice, for sure!!!

Serah D.'s Comment
member avatar

I neglected to mention that The TC does not offer towels; if you are married, you'll be staying at a hotel and won't need any. I also recommend a reading light. There's not any in the TC rooms.

Thanks for sharing. Practice makes perfect. Just keep at it and don't give up!!

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