Why I Believe Every Girl Should Learn to Drive Stick

I learned to drive a manual because my dad wanted to teach me. My mom drove stick, my dad drove stick, and my boyfriend at the time drove stick. I wanted to be a cool girl; my parents wanted to make sure I’d never get stuck somewhere because I didn’t know how to drive a car with a manual transmission. So I learned to drive stick.

When I was seventeen, the summer before I started my senior year of highschool, I was feeling confident, so I drove my mom to the grocery store. And long story short, when I was trying to park, I pressed the clutch instead of the break and rolled into a parked car. I was so embarrassed, I cried. We waited for the owner of the car, who was understanding, and the police to write up a report. When the officers arrived, I had to tell them what happened, which was embarrassing, yet necessary. I explained my mistake and the officer told me, “Well this is why young girls don’t need to be driving stick.”

I was appalled! What did my being a girl or being young have to do with driving a car with three pedals and a gearshift?!

While I was too shaken up to drive back home from that trip, I was filled with a new drive to be the cool girl who drives stick. At this point, it was personal.

So I practiced some more and I bought my car, a 1991 Volkswagen GTI, on Craigslist from a British man named Mark in July 2014. Mark had hoped his daughter would drive the GTI, but she wouldn’t learn to drive it, so he sold it to me instead.

I think every girl needs to learn to drive manual so I can stick it to the guy who told me I couldn’t. (At least in my head, he has no idea about what I’m doing.) More than that, I think everyone needs to learn something that someone said they shouldn’t or they can’t.

Cristina Yang said it best, “Have some fire. Be unstoppable. Be a force of nature. Be better than anyone here, and don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. There are no teams here, no buddies. You’re on your own. Be on your own.”

The above photo is my own.