Last Friday I failed my Level Two Road Test.
I’ve told only a handful of people about my failure, though now of course I’m telling the Silhouette’s entire readership.
My friends and family have told me it isn’t a big deal. Most people fail the final road test the first time, and Hamilton is apparently notorious for failing potential drivers the first time. I should try Burlington instead; apparently they have a better reputation.
People tell me that it just wasn’t my time to be fully licensed, there was some other divine reason as to why I was meant to fail my test the first time. I wasn’t ready, I just needed a few more months practice.
But I was ready. Or at least I felt ready.
I drove regularly, around the city and on the highway and took a practice test with my instructor during reading week. He told me to review the three-point-turn and I was good to go.
Apparently not though, because when I took my test after waiting half an hour for my invigilator, I lasted five minutes on the road before she instructed me to turn back into the driving test centre.
I parked crookedly in the parking lot, panicked and aware of my failure.
“Just let me straighten out the car,” I told her ready to put the car in reverse.
“Just park the car.” She then instructed me on where I could rebook my test, left my car, and walked back into the building.
I knew what I did wrong: I treated a four-way intersection as a four-way stop by mistake, slowed down, and then took off someone’s right of way. I would have liked to hear her tell me my mistake, or at least ask me if I knew what I did wrong and tell me how to fix it for next time. I was being cautious because I know most drivers forget about the special little blinker that notifies other drivers you will be turning. I was cautious because it was my final test and I thought being cautious was better than rushing into something and risking an accident.
But that didn’t stop my invigilator from marking off that I completed a dangerous action, and had inadequate skills to complete the test.
Test Terminated, my test document read.
I made a mistake. A stupid stupid mistake fueled on a half hour’s worth of anxiety and my own self-doubt.
I cried, of course I cried. I ran back to the building of the driving test centre and told my parents I had failed. They soothed me and comforted me, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like a failure.
I’m a bit of a perfectionist in that way I guess. I had passed my previous two tests on the first try after much hard work and assumed that by working even harder for this test I would also pass on the first try. When I work hard for something I expect success and I’m only beginning to learn that even when you try your hardest you don’t always succeed. That stuff is only good in fairy-tales.
My dad told me that it’s the tragedies and disappointments in life that we learn most from and which shape us, not the good and blessed moments. And in that I believe him because even though I feel like a failure I know that I will get back in the car and drive again, I will take the test again, and I this time I will pass.
Until then, I’ll just have to get used to the fact that everyone fails, even when you try your hardest failure is sometimes inevitable.