I graduated from high school one month ago and, in between the one million and three grad parties I have attended so far, I have had time to reflect on the vast knowledge I acquired in my years of schooling. In this time, one class has really stood out in my memory: Automotive Technology.

Now, I’ll be honest with you. Before I took this class, I knew absolutely nothing about car maintenance. I had a general knowledge about cars and how they worked, but that was it. If you handed me a wrench, I would have just laughed and handed it back to you. My knowledge was so limited that I was absolutely defeated when I was supposed to help assemble a tool cabinet on the second day of class. I felt so useless that I actually tried to drop autos. Thankfully, I stuck with it.

I can’t say that since I took the class, I’m out working in my garage all the time. My knowledge is still somewhat limited, but now I’m not completely useless. Over time, I completed tasks that I really didn’t think I could do. I changed the oil in the shop car, after spilling so much the puddle on the floor rivaled the BP spill. I changed the tire on a wheel, four wheels, in fact. I even removed the starter and alternator in the shop car. These tasks gave me enough confidence to change the tail light bulb in my family’s Mustang. I won’t sit here and pretend like a bulb change is substantial like an engine swap, but it was more than I would have attempted had I not been in autos.

I also met a bunch of people in that class. We shared stories, checked out each other’s cars, and worked on each other’s cars. We even created a convertible Camry with our shop car, with the approval of our teacher, of course.

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In the midst of destroying, I mean transforming, the Camry, my class upgraded the Grocery Grabber.

If you can’t see the upgrade, there’s a Camry badge taped over the Lexus badge.

Honestly, I was nervous to take autos. I knew absolutely nothing compared to the other guys in my class and I did not want to embarrass myself. But, what I needed to know from the start is that Automotive Technology is just a class. You are expected to not know everything. Screw ups are expected, as well. Learning through mistakes is one of the best methods and I took away the most practical and useful knowledge of any class I have ever taken.