The shame of failing a driving permit test

Kate Hong, Staff Writer

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Picture this: You’re driving to school in a brand new car. A Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Corvette, you name it. When you pull up to school, all of your friends stare at your new, hot ride in jealousy. 

Except you’re not driving a new car, and never will.

Why, you ask? It’s because it’s the day your permit test rolls around, the first step to hopping behind the wheel of that sweet ride of yours. 

Everyone’s telling you that it’s a piece of cake. “It’s the easiest test ever, I didn’t even study,” or “You’re going to pass for sure,” is all you’ve been hearing the past few weeks. So, of course, you don’t study. I mean, who does, right? It’s easy, right?

A frail voice from the back of the DMV calls out your number, and you spot an angry DMV witch sitting in her throne. After waiting at the desk for practically years, you finally take your test. But while taking it, you think to yourself, “What the hell is this?” Every single answer is getting marked wrong.

The computer screen flashes, “12 percent, Failed”. You’re in disbelief, and feel all eyes on you as you back away from the screen and escape the DMV.

Congratulations! You just failed the permit test, something that only the dumbest of the dumb can do. You’re pretty skilled honestly. No one can get on your level.

Now that you’ve failed, what can you possibly do? Your dreams of whipping around in that dream car of yours have vanished, and all the friends you’ve been bragging to are now laughing at you. But boy oh boy, do I have some ideas for you.

Obviously, the first emotion you’d feel is denial. “How could I, fail a stupid 46 question test? It must be a nightmare. Maybe the DMV is playing a prank on me? That must be it. Wow, I almost fell for it!” 

You think that this phenomenon is completely absurd and not real, so you try to ignore everything around it. If someone’s driving a car, don’t look at them. If someone’s studying for a test, walk away. Pretty much anything that relates to “driving permit” or “test” you ignore.

All of a sudden, there’s a disturbing sensation bubbling up through your body. Anger. “Why did I fail the permit test? I’m literally going to punch the wall, this whole system is jacked up.”

OK, the second reaction is usually always the most extreme. When you’re furious, you’re dangerous. Anything and everything you do during this stage is probably a rash decision, and about 90 percent of your friends will ignore you.

You might run to the DMV and start jumping up and down like a madman until you get escorted out by the police. Or you might go around marking up other people’s cars just because you know you won’t get one anytime soon. 

But who knows, you’re unpredictable when you’re mad.

No matter how angry you get, don’t do anything too stupid. You’ll end up regretting it once you reach the third stage. If anything, you shouldn’t leave the house during this time.

Once you’ve expressed all the fury and rage you can release, you instantly feel dejected. You don’t feel like doing anything, and you want to cry all the time.“I am so ignorant. I’ll never be able to drive a car, or even pass the test. I’m going to jump into a pit of chicken wings and never climb out.”

The third reaction to this event is depression, or extreme sadness. During this stage, all you want to do is stay home curled up in your bed and sleep. The thought of your failure is just too saddening for you to even think at all.

Your friends will probably try to console you, but you’re just going to ignore them and rethink your entire life existence for days on end.

Then one day, you have an epiphany. A sudden realization. Acceptance. “What am I doing with my life? Failure happens all the time. I can always try again at some point. 

The last reaction is always the most relaxing. Accepting your fate is the most peaceful phase to go through after experiencing such heartache.

By the time you get to this point, most of your friends will have forgotten your humiliation, and you’ll be off the hook for the next few weeks.

In the next couple months, you’ll be living your best life until your permit test retake comes around, and you’re feeling nervous. “I can’t fail it twice now, I’ll be fine,” you tell yourself. Two hours later, you walk out with a 79 percent, no permit, and more shame.