Going To Training With Swift In Columbus.

Topic 23144 | Page 2

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Mnemnosyne's Comment
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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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like there are a lot of self entitle snowflakes at your school. Delays , confusion and madness are a standard part of CDL school, it appears some of your classmates didn't comprehend it. Enjoying your diary good luck

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
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the large number of students means we're not getting that much time behind the wheel, it seems.

Everybody "feels" this way. Our expectations of truck driving school are seldom even close to the realities of it. Hang in there, they've got to get as many students through there as they can without spending too much money in the process. This is just the first step of your training. Trust me, you're going to have a lot of time behind the wheel while on a trainer's truck. This phase is just to get your license - it's not really training for your career yet.

You've got to think of your training in the context of the entire year ahead of you. You're in the first stage of three major stages of your training. The next one is being on your trainer's truck. After that comes your rookie solo year - it's all part of the very steep learning process. Take it all in, one step at a time. Be patient with the process - this takes a lot of time, and a lot of nerve. There is no instant gratification in trucking.

Here's A Great Podcast you should listen too. It will help you understand the how and whys of the process.

Mnemnosyne's Comment
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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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mnemnosyne's Comment
member avatar

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.

Don's Comment
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How has your training gone in the last week?

Mnemnosyne's Comment
member avatar

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.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Bmv:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Harry H. [ navypoppop ]'s Comment
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Sorry to invade your post but I was just wanting to say hello to Don. How are things going at AB? I hope you are doing well. Again sorry for intruding.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Great job with the CDL! I felt very similiar to you regarding the manual while in school but it gets much easier the more you do it. Gets to a point where theres really not much thought of it, its just muscle memory. Good news though, most companies are switching over to a fully auto fleet so i doubt you'd have to "worry" about a manual. Please keep us updated on your journey. When you run into issues or feel like throwing in the towel post over in the "general categories " portion of the forum and we can help you get through it.

Again, great job getting that CDL now let the real fun begin!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations!

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

You did it! There's no shortcuts to success in trucking. Hang in there and keep at it, you'll get there.

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