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President’s Weekly Messages to Students

You can't learn to drive in parked car


You can't learn to drive in parked car

February 28, 2023

Dear KCC Students,

I came across this quote and was reminded about the time I got my driver’s license.   True story. 

As many of you know, I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  St. Croix is a relatively small island - 84 square miles- where everyone knows everyone.

My parents were too nervous drive with me and therefore too nervous to teach me how to drive, so I went to driving school.   I don't remember much about my driving school experience, but I thought I did well.  Because when the time came for me to taking my driving test, I aced the paper exam, but the actual driving test, ummm not so much.  I couldn't park to save my life.  So the examiner ordered me back to the office to schedule another appointment to take the driving test. 

As I stood in the line dejected for failing and waiting my turn to reschedule, the guy at the desk looked at me and my name and he asked, are you Claudette's daughter?  I said yes, and he said go ahead and take your picture.  Just like that, I went from being dejected to being excited!  I got the hook up and I got my driver's license.  I know, I know no fair, but I was 16 and  I wasn't thinking about fairness. Besides I could drive, I just couldn't park.

I didn't get to spend that much time as a driver that year, I was off to college in the fall; and while I  did drive when I came home on vacation, I did not have a car in college.  Living in NJ, I knew is that I vowed I would NEVER drive in the states.  After seeing how folks drove, I was the one who was nervous to get behind the wheel of a car.  

After graduating from college though, I got my NJ drivers license and a car-- a white Ford Escort and I regularly drove it back and forth from NJ to NY and then after moving to NYC, I drove all over the city.  I amazed myself when I had to drive in Manhattan, but I was still not the best at parking.  But at that time, I lived in areas like Queens where parking spaces were plentiful. 

Two cars later and a move to Brooklyn, I can honestly say, it was living and owning a car in Brooklyn that taught me how to park.  When you have to hunt for spaces as close as possible to your apartment in the very crowded Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill, you would be amazed at how the skills you need will emerge when  you needed them the most. I wasn't perfect at first, but I got better overtime. 

KCC students, in hindsight I should have gone just taken a few more driving classes, maybe that way it would have taken so long for me to learn how to park. The lesson here is not to cut corners, it doesn't serve you well in the long term.  But there is another lesson/ message: just because you aren't good at something it doesn't mean that you won't get better overtime.  But you have to try and you have to get moving.  If you didn't do well last semester, don't give up you still have an opportunity to earn your college degree or a credential. But you have to speak to your advisor, make a plan, register, attend classes, commit to your success and seek help when you need it.

Keep your foot on the gas KCC students.  I know you have everything it takes to go far in life.

- President Schrader