Learning How to Drive by Juliet Roll

Recently in my junior year I have begun my venture into the world of the American streets. By that I mean I have begun learning how to drive. I’ll be honest, it’s been rough. The cinematic scene of the teenage girl hitting the road seems far from my reality of jerky steering and lurching halts at the red light. No, it hasn’t been easy, but I think driving has given me a whole new perspective on my position in the world.

As a passenger, your perspective is passive. You lean your head against the window and you watch your neighborhood go by. The movement of the cars around you appears timed and orderly and jeez! Why can’t your dad just park in one go? But as a new driver having that control is unnatural and horrifying. You suddenly have to think about every move you make, the cars around you, and how to get to where you’re going. It’s scary, especially being aware that you could get into an accident, but I’ve learned to be more observant. As a writer, detail and specificity are so important. When I’m driving I find myself focusing on the color of every sign, how each pedestrian walks, and the layout of every block. Driving has given me a new freedom and I can go through the world so differently from how I did before. I feel this is truly the transition from my childhood to my adulthood.

Julieta Roll, class of 2019

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