Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

Around this time last year I was sitting anxiously in my mother’s car as the DMV employee inspected its exterior parts to ensure that everything was fully functioning and _____ for road testing. I complied to each request such as “show me the turn signals” and “step on the brakes” with a hesitant smile (though I knew exactly where everything was) and the sound of my heart pounding overpowering any encouraging thoughts I may have had. I passed the pre-test check hoping that this success prior to the actual driving test would foreshadow my success in the next 15 minutes.

It didn’t.

It was in the final 3 minutes of the test where I made an dumb mistake that qualified me for an automatic fail though I learned that prior to this I had only 5 markdowns on my score sheet. I was devastated to say the least. I may or may not have begged  asked the tester to reconsider and even tried to put the blame on the other car even though I knew deep down that it was totally my fault. At the time however, it didn’t stop me from trying to salvage my pride by recounting the story to those who knew I had taken the test that day by playing the innocent victim who was unfairly wronged. The most distinct memory I have from that day is going to Subway right after to get lunch and breaking down in tears as soon as the cashier asked me what I wanted to order. Luckily, she was insanely sweet about it telling me that I was young and still had many chances to try again. She told me that failing my driving test was not the end of the world and I’m not the only one who’s ever failed on the first try. Leaving, Subway I felt way better and determined to pass the second time around. After talking to some of my friends, I realized even more that she was completely right. I had many of my friends admit that they’d also failed on the first try and found out my mother actually did as well. Seeing how she’s had her license for  decades, I was reassured even more that once I finally pass the test, it truly won’t matter at all.

Three weeks later, I tried again.

And failed again.

I didn’t even cry the second time because I was just bitterly amused by this second failure. The following hours consisted of convincing myself that I just wasn’t meant to drive and I could just hire someone to drive me around for the next few years of my life until I was ready to face the test again. My parents shut down that idea before I even had a chance to google a definitive list of great driving services.

I guess the second time was easier to get over because the circumstances showed me that sometimes you just need to fail. I realized after the first test that I hadn’t fully learned my lesson. Yeah, I improved my skills between the first and second test, but it was more like a temporary improvement so that I could finally get my license, when in actuality I should have been improving because I wanted to improve my driving in general. Sometimes failures happen to teach you a life long lesson and not just one for the time being. After I passed on the third test, I made a comment on how I was glad I never had to go through a driving test again (as long as I remained in my state) and my dad reminded me that I wasn’t even close to done: I have to take the test every single day as I get on the road and drive from place to place.

When it comes to failure, the most important thing to do is to not let it get the best of you. If you’re in a position where it’s completely possible to try again, then I’d say to go for it as many times as you need to even if it results in multiple failures. The stigma surrounding failure should never stop you from persevering and going after what you want. At the time, I was extremely embarrassed at the thought of telling people I had failed my driving test two times, but now I say it freely and with pride because it shows that I didn’t give up and I believed in myself to keep going even though a third failure loomed and tried to dissuade me.  Now, I’m glad I didn’t wait for a few years because with all the things 2015 had in store for me, my license was essential.

So please, take any challenge head on as many times as you need to and please don’t feel that the success that follows is less valid because it took longer because it definitely isn’t.

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