The ‘M’ Endorsement

MotorcyclE class

I know that I have not written a ton of personal posts and that is completely my doing. I should be sprinkling in more of these stories because they are the types of stories that I would be sharing on the radio.

The process in my home state of Maryland to obtain a motorcycle license is fairly easy – almost as easy as getting your driver’s license. You take a written test and then you must prove your ability and skills by driving (or in this case, riding). If you asked me even just a year ago, I would probably have never said “I am getting my motorcycle license.” It just made no sense. I did not know the process, nor did I think I could handle a clutch. All of that changed this past March.

I was in a major rut in my life back at the beginning of March, no job and I was just feeling down on myself. I was losing hope but because of a connection of mine, I was able to get a job at Montgomery College with their motorcycle program. Without any knowledge of motorcycles, I took the job because a) money b) hours away from home and c) IT WAS A JOB. It was presented as an administrative job and I was ready for it. I came to find out that there was so much more to it. Ego management, angry students, transfers, preparing motorcycles, setting up classrooms, and opening classes. I found myself in the deep end trying to tread water for weeks without much training at all.

Yet, come May, I was finally afloat and was fast with each task. I actually had down time during my short weekly schedule. There were so many things I learned from just being a Training Center Manager. The flow of a workplace hyped me up. I was ready for more hours and now potentially down the line, a motorcycle license class. That is all it was though, a down the line kind of item.

I began going all-in for the program, creating a schedule for the 2018 calendar year, working on an employee motorcycle class and even more when I was given the opportunity to switch programs for what would be a better career move. The position would also give me the opportunity to utilize my past knowledge of marketing (aka my degree). With the switch coming within a three week span (and one of those weeks was on vacation) I was still determined at that point to push for the employee motorcycle class. Even though I switched to Project Management, I made sure that this motorcycle class went on as planned; it would be my parting shot.

For those who are not aware of the process of a motorcycle licensing class, it is simple:

  1. Online course work
  2. Classroom hours with a knowledge test
  3. Range sessions – riding motorcycles with a skills test at the end

As I said, it looks simple but I underrated the final step.

The online work was just long and boring. Three hours to be exact. With that understanding though, it makes the classroom session a lot easier. I flew through the test at the end of the class and all we had left was a date with actual motorcycles Memorial Day Weekend.

Rain and gloom started day one on an off foot. With rain fluctuating between a light drizzle and a down pour, we had to retire for the day after only an hour completed. The nerves were just starting to get settled when we stopped. Now, we had to finish the first of our two days the following day instead of wrapping up the class.

Day two was cool, a light crisp breeze blew in from the north and nerves appeared low most of the day. Low speed maneuvers filled the day and nerves would peak up from time to time, especially if the bike stalled. With stiff wrists and an uncomfortable feeling from the “new-ness” of the activity, I doubted whether or not to continue the following weekend. Well, I also did not think I would make it through the exercises. I usually do doubt myself when I take on any test.

The following weekend came around, highlighted by week one of the NFL season. My hometown Washington Redskins were ready to kick off at 1:00 PM and my motorcycle class was scheduled to wrap up at 1:00 PM. Add that pressure for me (a die-hard fan) and the class felt almost impossible. The game gave me an out if I wanted it.

I chose to say “f*** it” and lets see how this goes. Some how everything felt natural on the motorcycle. All of my doubts went out the window because I “did not care” anymore about my performance. The second day felt easier than the first, which is probably expected. When the test came around, I was first in line for each component and the nerves still did not come back. I do not know how they stayed settled but they did and it showed after the test.

Just for reference – 0 on the test is a perfect score. That means that you received zero deductions. Anyone taking the test can receive 15 points and still pass. At 16 and beyond, you failed the test.

Imagine stalling on an exercise (which I did) and thinking “oh shit, how many points do I have off?” “how many points is a stall worth?” My mind wondered yet I still felt positive after the test was over.

The instructor called each person to him individually to give us our scores. I was told “you did not get a perfect score,” which I knew was not happening. He then proceeded to say, “I expected more from you.” The amount of doubt that flew in can not be described. Every activity was replayed in my mind, where did I fail? What did I do wrong? So much was going through my head in that moment. The instructor proceeded to flip my score sheet over to reveal a 1. A SINGLE POINT OFF (for the stall). I could tell you that I was duped. All doubt I had was for nothing. I was beyond excited and it is really hard to describe how I felt.

Throughout the process, I had my doubts, but I finished what I started. It was a terrific feeling to wrap up that part of my professional life with a new endorsement on my license. It felt like the correct amount of closure as I moved on to another program.

Here’s to not giving up and fighting to do your very best…you will always surprise yourself with what you can do.

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