Each year thousands of men and women become consumed by the dream of being an over-the-road truck driver. The lure of the open road sucks them in, and they flock to CDL schools or companies with CDL training programs like Prime.
The bus ride isn’t bad. In fact, many people consider it an adventure. They even maintain their excitement through orientation week, physicals, drug screens, endless waiting in seemingly non-moving lines. They occupy their time by memorizing “properly mounted and secured, not cracked, bent or broken” on their vehicle pre-trip inspection.
Then just like they dreamed, they climb up into a big rig and take to the open road. Suddenly, without any warning, they feel empty. Something bubbles up out of nowhere, and they begin to miss home, friends, the neighbor’s barking dog, their property taxes and even the leaky faucet that used to keep them up at night.
Some can’t push through and abandon their dream of being a trucker. Others stay out but exist in misery. For the rest of us, there are some things you can do to prepare to leave home that will help you be successful and happy on the road. It can even make your times at home much richer and more exciting.
When you begin a truck driving training program, you’ll be away from home for several weeks at first, perhaps for the first time in your life. You won’t be surrounded by the familiar at the very time you would want to be connected the most. After all, learning to drive a truck is difficult and reinforcement from those who love you is critical to your success.
So what’s a trucker apprentice to do? Planning is everything. Here are a few things you can plan on. Do them while in training and it will help you stay happy and maintain a positive learning environment.
1) Bring Home With You. Take photos, mementos, trinkets—small things that keep you tethered to your home. Something with the smell or feel of home at the moment when you feel the most stressed will go a long way.
2) Stay connected to your friends and family. While you’re driving and observing, you’ll have your phone turned off and stowed in the back. When you stop or have time, take the time to call them. Share your experiences of the day. Using a video communication such as Skype or Face Time is even better. It’s the next best thing to being there. It also helps to plan events together for when you do get that home time.
3) Remember the WHY. As you pack your bags to head off to school, take a minute to write down why you made the decision to train to be a truck driver in the first. Index cards work great for this. Put the card in your wallet and in the moment when you begin to feel homesick, pull it out and read it out loud. Umm, yes, right out loud. You will see and hear the reasons and double reinforce that you made a good decision. You’ll still miss home but it will make your suffering mean something.
Driving a truck over the road for weeks at a time isn’t easy. If it were, there would not be such a great need for new truck drivers. But, there are tens of thousands of men and women who very successfully balance work and home. They learn how to stave off the loneliness and keep home alive in their hearts. So can you.
Following these few simple suggestions will help keep you happy and whole while training for your dream career.
Written by Reba J. Hoffman
Reba J. Hoffman joined Prime in 2014 after spending a year riding her bicycle alone around the country helping women victims of violent assault. A therapist by trade, Reba uses her understanding of people and how they tick to help them live their dream of being a trucker by serving as a PSD instructor. When out of her truck, you’ll find her somewhere in the wilds of nature.
To become a student driver and start your career in the transportation industry, look into Prime, Inc.’s Student Driver Program to learn more. Then, be sure to connect with us on our social media sites to keep up with the latest industry information.