The Most Important Thing I Learned as a UGA Bus Driver

As a Campus Transit employee, you learn a lot of new things.

You learn what air brakes are, how to complete a pre-trip inspection, and how to navigate each of the university’s 15 bus routes, but the most important lesson I learned as a UGA bus driver has nothing to do with the mechanics of the job. During my 1.5 years as a driver, the most important thing I learned is when to step up in confidence, both in myself and in my abilities.

The first and most natural response I get when people learn of this work experience is usually: “You drove the bus? Isn’t that scary!”

At the beginning of my time as a driver, the answer was yes. Driving the bus was scary in the sense that I was operating a very heavy piece of machinery for hours on end around a campus full of tight turns and oblivious pedestrians.

This type of fear is not uncommon, though, so to help alleviate some of it UGA has an amazing student training program in which new drivers are paired with a trainer for a considerable amount of time before they are allowed out on the road by themselves. The problem I encountered is that once I became comfortable driving and it was my time to graduate from training, I did not want to give up that safety net of having an extra set of eyes watching the road and the pedestrians during my shifts.

It was not that I was unprepared to navigate the roads independently, as I had completed my training and had every necessary skill and resource under my belt to respond to the variability of driving a shift on any given day. My reluctance to drive without a trainer reflected a lack in confidence in myself and my abilities.

After I realized this truth, I knew that I had to take initiative and begin driving independently, confident that I could and would execute well. Of course, once I was out on the road alone, the process was no different than it had been my last few weeks with a trainer. I had learned the skill of bus driving, and I was ready to own it.

This lesson on confidence applies to much more than bus driving, as there are many instances in life where taking initiative is necessary. In some cases, one may not be in the position where immediately taking initiative is advised, such as when I first began driving and needed a trainer to teach me how to operate the bus; however, it is also the case that once this training period is complete, one should feel confident taking initiative due to the new skills and abilities gained.

Through these experiences, I have grown to love stepping up and putting skills I’ve learned into practice, as I feel much more comfortable taking initiative and confidently trusting in myself and my abilities. I never would have thought I could have learned this so concretely during my time at Campus Transit, but it definitely is the most important thing I learned as a UGA bus driver.

Have you had any experiences like this that have taught you to take initiative? I want to hear them! Tell me about them in the comments below.

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