As some of you know, I left USX because of the low miles and went to SNI. Here is the tales of the last two weeks.
I arrived at the Luxurious Howard Johnsons on Friday the 19th of October and met my room mate who was a pretty nice guy. Got settled into the room and prepared for day 1 of class.
On Saturday, we were fed a continental breakfast at Ho-Jos and caught the Pumpkin Bus at 0615. Once at the OC we were taken to our classroom where we met our classroom instructor Mike Dakan. Mike was a great instructor and a very helpful guy. He made class informative and fun. If you are going to Carlisle for STA, you should hope to get him for class.
Most of day 1 was paperwork and prep for the next 13 days. Because I already had my CDL, I took a road test (assessment) with another instructor. I was told that I would be in the ADTC (advanced class) if I passed the road test. If I passed, I would be there for about 4 or 5 days. I went up thinking just that because I did not want to be there for 14 days. If you have a CDL, DO NOT go there thinking you will only be there for 4 or 5 days. If you are like me and had only a couple months under your belt, you will take the full 14 days regardless. At the end, you will be glad you did. Yes, there will be some stuff that will be a repeat from your CDL School but, there will be a lot of new stuff. Remember, SNI wants you to be safe and they will teach you how to be safe and do the job to keep yourself out of trouble.
We were also told to be prepared for LONG days. They are not kidding! There will be no time for watching hours of TV or going out to eat or any other non-sense type activity. The instructors classified it as drinking water from a fire hose. Its overwhelming but its worth it.
One guy asked how many people actually pass the course at SNI. We were told to expect at least a third of the class not to make it. We started out with 37. The first person was lost on day one. There are many reasons for loosing people but for the most part, it was due to not being able to handle the truck or all of the class work.
We started out with shifting on the SIM machines. They are pretty cool. Its like a giant PS2.  There were three instructors in SIMS. Mike ?? was a great SIM instructor. Very easy going and was able to explain things so students could grasp the concepts of shifting.
Then we met our road instructors. My main instructor was Fred Gutshall. He was a great instructor. Now if you get Fred, he is a straight shooter and pulls no punches. But you will learn a lot from him. I also had Gary Saxon. He too is a great instructor. If you are having trouble with a certain driving issue, these two guys work together to get you past the issue.
Yesterday was graduation day. We spent the biggest part of the day with Eric ?? from Loss Prevention. Very informative guy. He was very articulate and just grabbed your attention from the moment he started talking. He reinforced the entire safety spectrum that was taught over the last two weeks and gave pointers on how to stay safe and keep you out of trouble. In my opinion, his lecture should be taught every year. It makes you think and teaches you not to take short cuts. As he said, its easy to get complacent after you get some time under your belt.
By the time it was all said and done, only 22 people finished the class. It is intense but most people can handle it. Some simply find that truck driving is not for them. Its not just about driving; there is a big responsibility involved.
Im glad I stayed for the 14 day course. I could have very easily left and went to another company who would have stuck me with a trainer and started me driving right out of the gate. But really, what would I have learned and how long would it have been before I did something unsafe and caused myself or someone else some grief?
Regardless of where you take STA, go there without any expectations. Keep an open mind, pay attention and be prepared for long days. As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it. When you graduate, it will be with a sense of accomplishment and the piece of mind knowing that you have the tools to be a safe driver, you just have to use them.
A couple of tips for those going to Carlisle:
1.) The prices are high there. Ho-Jo has refrigerators in the rooms. Go to Wal-Mart or Giant and get some lunch meat, bread, snacks or whatever to eat in the evening. You will save tons of money!
2.) You can wash cloths at the OC in Carlisle instead of paying to get your cloths washed.
3.) Breakfast consists of Bagels, apples, bananas, oatmeal, coffee and juice. To be blunt, if you are a big breakfast person you will starve! When you go shopping, get some breakfast stuff to get you through.
4.) Take advantage of down time. If you get a half day (you will get at least one in week one) catch up on your rest. If you are a night driver, do the same. You will get to leave and go back to the hotel at noon and then back at 5PM to drive. Get in bed early whatever you do. Dont stay up watching TV or screwing around. You WILL regret it in the morning!
5.) Be on time for class and dont miss the bus. The instructors dont say a word if you are late but believe me, they make a note of it. I saw one guy sent home because he was always late.
6.) Dont take shortcuts and follow the instructors directions to a T.
Good luck all!
Schneider Training - Carlisle, PA - Tips
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Thanks for the good advice, Irish. I start STA in Green Bay on 11/7.
I especially liked your advice about keeping an open mind. That has been important for me in both deciding to get into trucking and in selecting a company.
It's good to hear about Schneider's emphasis on safety too. If more drivers (all vehicles included) thought more about the responsibility involved, the highways would be safer. We need an attitude of stewardship.
Good luck to you! See ya on the road!
i just got done with sta in green bay, as irish said its tough. a tip its cold up there so bring layers if your going up there. schneider is big on what i call "the schneider way" we had one guy sent home for not being willing to learn the way schneider wants every thing done. there is reason behind there madness.
Thanks Irishmike202 For The Info, Going Tomorrow For My Cdl Permit And Should Start School In December. I Think Going To School In The Winter Should Be A Plus,training In New England Weather.this Way I Can Come Out Ready To Go For Spring.
Once Agaim Thanks Mike
Where are you planning on going to school in NE for your CDL? I am thinking of going the same route and then hopefully get in with a good company. I have a couple company schools that would take me on right now ( Millis, Roehl, Etc..). Trying to get out with my wife as a team but it seems several company's will not take us for training being from Connecticut for some reason? The search continues for a good fit.
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