First-Time Drivers Tackle First-Ever Drive to School


Maddy Carter

Big Wheels: Anna Pannell is one of the many sophomores who drove to school for the first time during the 2017-18 school year.

High school is full of many milestones in one’s life. One of the bigger, more exciting milestones is driving. It’s one of the beginning steps to independence from your parents, learning personal responsibility, and how to have a little bit more fun. However, getting behind the wheel for the first time is no easy feat.

Once a permit is obtained, an individual must spend many hours driving with a licensed adult in order to fulfill the DMV’s requirements. After one year, a teen becomes eligible to test. However, the real test might be learning how to handle driving to North Atlanta. The school is known for having a slightly chaotic parking deck, where it can be argued that being a bad driver is a necessity to survive. Even freshman Marisa Humphries knows about the deck. “Since my brother drives to school, I’ve seen the parking deck and it’s like every man for himself,” she said. “Right after school, when I’m walking to the car, it’s scary because people have come really close to hitting me.”

Once the big day comes when you can finally drive to school for the first time, you have to be strategic. When parking, you have to be careful that you don’t take anyone’s space. Oftentimes, people write aggressive notes telling invaders to move and leave it on their car’s windshield. Backing out of spots can also be exceedingly tricky. “It can be stressful trying to leave sometimes because everyone is speeding and just wants to be home,” said sophomore Jack Kistler.

The first drive to school is one fraught with pressures both for the first-time driver and also for the worried sick parents of the first-time driver. It was in March that sophomore Grace McCaffrey first made her drive to North Atlanta. Before doing so she had to assure her parents. “They were super interested to make sure I knew exactly where I was going and then, they told me I had to text them when I made it to school,” McCaffrey said. “I don’t know who was more nervous, them or me.”  

Despite these annoyances, it is nice to not be depending on your parents or the bus to pick you up, allowing yourself to determine your own schedule. Although driving to school comes with sometimes stressful baggage, it is an exciting right of passage for young adults in high school.