License part 1:
I now have my Maryland drivers license! I went to the MVA (like the DVLA) up in Westminster (yes, UK names everywhere!) on Monday and hoped to have my new license all sorted out there and then. Unfortunately they needed me to sit both a short computer test and ‘skills’ test. I was able to sit the computer test there and then but they had no spots left for the driving portion of the test. I must add, the computer test I think was 25 questions, and being totally unaware I was going to have to sit this test I did not study at all and still got 24 right. The one I missed out on was something about being 18 and driving with/without adults, and, well, I’m not 18 so I don’t mind! Anyway, I scheduled my ‘skills’ test online, and this morning drove 32 miles to the Frederick MVA (open on Saturdays, unlike Westminster!) and sat it.
Now, it might seem odd me calling it a ‘skills’ test but they say it’s a skills test instead of a driving test, and I say… no, it is not testing enough of my skills to be known as that! After one reverse park (between 6 giant orange cones with flags in them in an empty parking lot), I must have driven roughly 2-3 miles around the relatively quiet roads and then my test was done. Really? That’s all? No more manoeuvres? No proof I can safely pull on and off the highway? No silly 4-way stops? No parking between cars? No more than 15 minutes in total? And without a clutch? Wowsers, it’s easy to get a drivers license here!
The irony of driving a 64 mile round trip to sit a driving test of a maximum of 3 miles…
License part 2:
I had been doing online study for my Real Estate license since I arrived here in Maryland. It is something I have wanted to do for years. I started pursuing it back in Scotland but then the decision to move to the US happened and so, well, I gave up for then. And now here I am doing it.
However, I say ‘had been doing’ the online course because it was killing me. It was the only thing I had to actually get done in my life just now, and I was forcing myself to sit and study and felt like I was getting nowhere. It’s tricky to explain but the hours calculated weren’t adding up right and I felt like I was giving more to it than I was benefitting from. I also realised, of course, that in doing all of this I wasn’t actually taking in most of what I was reading. I do not learn by reading. Never have, never will. So, why the heck was I doing an online course? I just want to start working and learn as I went – that’s just how I work. I need to know how this stuff applies to me, to work, to reality. Of course I knew this already, I learn by doing, but I thought I would be able to push myself without having other life distractions. Eh, no.
So, last week I admitted defeat.
This week I began an 8 day intensive class.
I have completed 4 days. I am knackered. 8 hours a day of study around a table with 7 people + the tutor, plus 4 chapter quizzes each evening, and a midterm exam on Friday. Today is Saturday. I have not opened a book today. Tomorrow, however, I have to get back to it so that my brain is fully stocked up before we begin again on Monday for the second half of the course.
It is a small group but feels like just the right size to have conversations and not feel overwhelmed. Our tutor is amazing. Not only is she guiding us very clearly to pass our exam, but she is a great human being with a big heart too, and knows how to have a laugh! If I can’t learn on the job, this is the next best thing, to learn with a tutor who knows her stuff and can tell you her real life experiences alongside the syllabus to make it make sense. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of reading, but it is much easier communally and with conversation than at home/in a café alone.
I never expected to be quite so baffled by vocabulary, but my oh my I am glad there is a real estate dictionary in the back of the book! Some of it is cultural differences, in terminology used to describe types of buildings/homes etc, and some of it is just new and hard to digest at such a fast pace.
All being well, I will pass the final class exam on Thursday and be put forward to sit my State exam sometime the following week. Meaning, assuming I pass them both, I’ll be qualified before I head to the UK for my trip and ready to begin working when I return. Phew! I have been in contact with a few Broker firms/offices to discuss working with them, and so those conversations are still ongoing and hopefully will be fruitful in the next two weeks also, so I know where I’ll be working come mid-June!
All in all, one license done, one to go…