First of all, thank you to everyone for all the comments and thoughts as I entered into my first day of classes today! I love that nothing ever has to be done alone… I have a great support system — so thank you!!
I kind of had an idea that things move quickly in the trucking industry. I mean, the course itself is only 10 weeks. When Adam and I walked in this morning, on my first day of class, at 7:15 am, we stopped in to talk to the guy that will bring Adam through his refresher course. We told him what we were doing, and without much hesitation he said, “Have you considered Schneider? Here’s a number for a recruiter you can call.” Okay… so day one and we’re already being directed to a recruiter? I love this industry. Now it’s evening, and as I type this, Adam is on the phone with that trucking recruiter getting some questions answered. We have some time to look at other companies, too, so we’ll be doing that in the next couple of months. And from what I’m gathering, receiving a technical diploma and a CDL from FVTC is a pretty big deal. We were reminded that this school is a premier truck driving school that is one of the best in the nation and recognized globally. Wow! I feel pretty fortunate that this school happens to be basically in my backyard and close to home.
Anyway, wow. I, again, am all over the place. We had a lot of information given to us today. We didn’t get into any trucks, but we got a tour of the building and got to hop into a van for a ride around the Keller Range, which is basically a simple course built for us to practice on. It’s a loop of roadway on FVTC’s campus that has stop/go lights, a railroad crossing, stop signs before hills, turns, a clearance beam… it’s basically a fun obstacle course for truckers. And since it’s on FVTC’s private property, we can drive on it before we have our Instruction Permit. It sounds like we will be shifting and driving a tractor (without the trailer) on Thursday already! That’s pretty crazy!
So after today, I have an information packet 1″ thick, and that is what we focused mostly on today. Rules and regulation for the school itself were covered, as well as for the trucking program specifically. Safety, safety safety! Cell phones off and no food and drink in the vehicles. Seat belts at all times. Good rules like that! We went over how to check grades, how to watch required videos, and find important links and take quizzes to help us prepare for our Instruction Permit (which is basically like a temps for truck driving).
A couple of cool things I learned today that kind of stood out:
Once I graduate from FVTC I’m like this lifetime member with their student and graduate services, meaning if I’m in a job 10 years from now that I’m just not happy with, I can call them and they will help me look for something better, revamp my resume – whatever I need to get where I want to be. That seemed like a pretty neat deal.
Throughout the course we will be dispatched on route assignments, and towards the end of the course, some of the routes will take us all over the state! On Wednesdays our class starts at 7:30 am and goes until 8:00 pm, so that would be the day we would be assigned a route like that. That is going to be really great experience, and I’m looking forward to it! This long day is also so we can get night-driving experience. They seem to really cover all the bases, and I’m impressed with how things are done so far.
Tomorrow I pick up my books and take my DOT physical and drug test. I am hoping my history of Aplastic Anemia (15 years ago) won’t bring up too many questions during my physical, otherwise my Federal Medical card could be put on hold until I can get paperwork sent to them. This could cause a serious cramp in training. I’ll find out tomorrow. As for the drug test, that one’s easy. I guess federal law states that a urine test is all that is needed for the drug test, so I will drink lots of tea in the morning to be prepared for that. Some trucking companies, including Schneider, also require a hair follicle test that can trace drugs back to 9 months. I thought that was interesting. But for now I get to keep all of my lovely locks.
And I WILL get to do skid pad training – in fact, it’s required. There will be one day towards the end of the course where they grease up a giant area of pavement and have us force the truck into a jackknife skid so we can try to correct it and get a feel for how to do that. The instructor told us the only thing he recommends we do to prepare for that day is to bring and extra pair of underwear. Haha! Yeah… good idea!
So much to look forward to in these next couple of months! And it’s going to go so fast!
Tonight I love butterflies of the tummy variety. Like fear and pain, hiking and happiness, love and tears, those butterflies make me feel alive.