My First Car
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Welcome to the open road—And the beginning of adulthood

By Brandon Gorrell

 

Everyone remembers their first car—not only the make and the model but how the steering wheel felt in our hands, the scent of the interior, the friends who rode shotgun. First cars make for more than just nostalgic memories, though—they’re often the first “big thing” we’re responsible for. And as with many firsts, our first cars were the tools of our learning experiences, from the minute we laid eyes on them before purchase to the moment we realized we had outgrown them and it was time to move on.

If you’re lucky, you’re looking at the Chevrolet Cruze, a vehicle that embodies everything that’s great about the journey, on the road and in life. And with the Chevrolet College Discount Program* for students and recent graduates, you can get a lending hand as you take your first steps and log your first miles in the real world.

First cars can teach us many things; here are a few that really stuck for me:

Responsibility. When you assume ownership of your first car and begin to do all the fun things that come with having your own method of transportation, you quickly learn that you’re not only responsible for its upkeep and your own safety, but you’re also responsible for the safety of your passengers and the fellow drivers in your immediate proximity. Your first car teaches you to be vigilant and mindful of yourself—and your surroundings—to ensure that the road is a safe place for everyone.

Budgeting. Gas and maintenance certainly aren’t free, and many of us got our first jobs to be able to afford our first cars. There’s really nothing like a healthy amount of financial obligation to motivate you into getting smart about your spending. Paying for your first car is one of your first lessons in money management, helping you on your way to becoming a budgeting pro.

Self-Reliance. Getting safely from point A to point B is easy when you’re riding in the passenger seat, but when you're driving your own vehicle, the job is all up to you. Whether it’s by changing your first spare tire on the side of the rod, learning how to replace your own oil, or figuring out how to read a map on your first long trip, your first car puts you in charge, building in you a self-reliance that’s an integral part of becoming an adult.

Selflessness. When you finally get your first car, you’re finally in the position to give friends a lift, offer a jump-start in the grocery store parking lot, help friends of the family move into a new home and more. In general, your first vehicle gives you the ability to help people out like never before. For this reason, your first car teaches you how to be selfless—it teaches you how to give to others what you can, when they’re in need.

Joy. There’s nothing like the open road to give you a sense of total freedom and joy, and to make you appreciate what a privilege it is to be able to get up, get out and drive anywhere you want to go. Your first car offers you these newfound moments of happiness—unconfined opportunity, a world that knows no bounds—and the ability see anything and do anything, as long as you know how to get there. Your first car is one of your first experiences with the expansive freedom that driving offers, teaching you the joy of the open road.

Brandon Gorrell is an editor at Thought Catalog. Contact him at brandongorrell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @brandongorrell.

*Eligible participants for the Chevrolet College Discount include college students (from any two- or four-year school), recent graduates who have graduated no more than two years ago, and current nursing school and graduate students. Excludes Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.


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