What It Means To Be A NJ Driver

What it Means To Be A New Jersey Driver

I apologize on behalf of all of us.

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New Jersey drivers are a breed of their own. As drivers in New Jersey we often hear about how awful we are, but we just laugh it off. You really don't realize what it means to be a New Jersey driver until you either leave the state or drive the roads with an outsider. Then you realize just how different we are from all other drivers. It's really no wonder why we're the only state that doesn't give licenses until 17, come to think of it.

I often hear that all New Jersey drivers are just always in a rush. Which is, in fact, very true. Whenever I am driving I am always driving to get to my destination as quickly and efficiently (and yes, safely) as possible. However, I am never able to actually pinpoint why we are all racing to get where we are going. I normally explain that we just do everything fast whether it be to walk, talk, or drive. Right?

There is no doubt that I sure am thankful that we all have this sense of urgency, though. It's what keeps the flow of traffic moving on the packed rides down the shore on the Parkway and the after-work commutes home on the Turnpike.

Knowing the speed limit but also recognizing the more appropriate, necessary speed is what it means to be a New Jersey driver. Even if it startles anyone coming from outside of the Garden State.

However, I am sure that there are fast drivers everywhere. What sets New Jersey apart is the type of people behind the wheel. Not only are NJ drivers racing to get where they are going, but they will do so at the expense of others. Oftentimes there is no such thing as a blinker or a wave to let you in. We just go.

Being aggressive is what it means to be a New Jersey driver.

Driving in New Jersey teaches you to become accustomed to having to cut someone off here and there. But it never teaches you to be okay with someone else cutting you off. In fact, as an NJ driver, you are practically obligated to beep at anyone who skips the line at the jammed up exit. Even though you did it the day before.

Common courtesy is not necessarily the main priority of NJ drivers. Have you ever been stuck trying to merge into the toll booths at a busy hour? It's like funneling 20 lanes into 5. And to make matters worse, New Jersey drivers do not seem to know or care too much about patiently waiting in single file lines. Gridlock traffic is more our thing when it comes time to choose between order or chaos.

But this is all that it means to be a New Jersey driver. Fast, aggressive, and not willing to take anything from anybody else.

All of these traits aside, the most iconic characteristic of New Jersey drivers is their ability to flip the bird at any moment. Honestly, that finger will go flying even when nothing warrants it. Now THAT'S what it means to be a New Jersey driver.

The best part about all of this is that you can take the driver out of New Jersey, but you can't take New Jersey out of the driver. No matter where I go I will always be the New Jersey driver that I am, even if that place may have some other, less nice nicknames for me. But hey, it'll get me where I need to go. Fast.

Cover Image Credit:

Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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To The Alternate Version Of Myself That Could've Been

My life could've turned out differently, but I'm glad I chose the path that I did instead of the alternative.

JordynL
JordynL
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If you watch or read anything with a supernatural plot, you may be aware of alternate universes or realities that are mirroring ours in a different plane. When I allow my mind to wander, I catch myself imagining what my alternate self is doing and how that life has turned out. However, if you don't watch or read anything like that, the reality of the situation is that I like to refer back to all the decisions I've made that have shaped me into the person I am today. I look back at everything I could've done instead of the things that I have done. After realizing a lot of events and decisions in hind sight that could've swayed me to the other side, I'm glad that I'm the person that I am today instead of what I inevitably would've been.

Those those of you who don't know me, I'm the type of person that sets her mind to something and follows through with it. Anyone can have this mindset, sure. The difference is choosing what to do with it; to use it in a positive light and become successful, or a negative one and be a waste of life and leech off of the government. I don't mean to "toot my own horn", but I've done everything in a positive and semi-responsible light and I'm proud of it. So, toot-toot.


In my alternate reality, I was a stoner that spent all my time with the "burn outs". I constantly went to parties and snuck into my house hours after curfew smelling like almost every illegal thing under the sun. I always would've been in detention, getting suspended, and maybe even expelled- all while not caring in the slightest. I ended up being a high school mother. I started working at a fast food restaurant, actually believing that owning my own chain would be a good idea. I would graduate high school with a very low D average, surprising everyone that I actually graduated. I didn't attend college, or even enroll, because "school wasn't my thing and it would be a waste of time". I eventually became roommates in the most trashy part of town with the previous mentioned "burn outs" and the 'coolest guy in the group' would be my baby's father, of whom would've been involved in a shady business and I blindly supported his decisions. And because of all the drugs and alcohol consumed, my child would have many medical issues that we wouldn't be able to afford (attempting) to treat. We would be surviving on food stamps and other government assistance while preaching "our government is trash" even though they're providing me with my miserable life. Adding to the hypocrisy, I would spend my paychecks getting my nails done and buying things I didn't need, all while not providing for my child and skipping out on rent. I somehow became an assistant manager of the fast food restaurant I previously mentioned, despite the fact that I do absolutely nothing productive. And finally, I lost custody of my child because the neighbors (rightfully) called Child Protective Services, the "burn-out-love-of-my-life" would be arrested, and eventually I would be evicted. Depression would obviously raise its head and a bottle of sleeping pills never looked so delicious.

I have a creative imagination, don't I? Obviously a dark twist. My mind wanders and provides vivid details, and in some cases it's a gift. The sad part is, this is a reality for a decent amount of people in the town where I went to high school. Thankfully, I didn't give into peer pressure and follow their pathetic and idiotic recommendations. Aside from having common sense, my mom is a hard-ass and NEVER would've let any of this happen. If it did, she wouldn't have tolerated any of it and sent me to military school or some type of detention center in attempt to scare me straight.

Now bare with me while I toot the hell out of my horn.

I hung out with the good kids. I spent my nights and early mornings at some type of band rehearsal (insert nerd jokes here). Instead of parties, I was at band contests and singing along to soundtracks on the bus-ride home. I very rarely showed up after curfew (not counting all the times I was only minutes late. Traffic, you know?). I NEVER snuck in or out of my house because I knew my mom would kill me. I was a teacher's pet, always did my work, and 99% of the assignments were on time. I was a virgin until the summer after graduation (insert jokes/appraisals here), still with no kids! I did work in a restaurant, but it was to help raise money for my trip/musical tour to Europe. I graduated high school with a 3.6 (maybe 3.7?) GPA. I just finished my third year at my dream school and loving every minute of it; friends, sports events, tailgating, and learning all the things necessary for me to be successful in my field of choice- I'm an Elementary Education Major (insert jokes and "oh you're so brave" comments here). No roommates and no trashy neighborhoods (thank God). As I said before, I don't have a baby so there's no loser baby-daddy (and there won't be one). I will NOT do anything irresponsible during pregnancy- I'm not a terrible human being. No food stamps because I can actually find a decent job to take care of myself, I'm not lazy, or the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain. I also don't claim that our government is trash (insert idiotic, uninformed Republican jokes here). The only time I "treat myself" is for special occasions or when I have the spare funds to do so (and I've only gotten my nails done three times), and the occasional impulse buy isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, no kids, I'm not irresponsible so I don't skip out on rent, and why would I work in the fast food business, let alone become an assistant manager of one? Honestly. And obviously, I'm still alive and kicking.

I may sound like a spoiled and entitled bitch, and I'll admit to that a little. But at the same time, I've worked SO hard for everything that I have. My parents never handed me anything; I had to earn it; deserve it. Overall, I'm not irresponsible, although I occasionally make stupid decisions- we're allowed a few every once in a while, right? I have common sense and have the ability to make sound decisions, along with being gifted as a pretty good people reader (thanks mom). I can tell which situations and people aren't worth the time and I'm so thankful for that. It has saved me so much trouble and provided me with so many amazing opportunities.


Words can't describe how thankful I am to be the person I am today instead of the person I could've been (at least in the alternate reality I imagined). I'm glad I've had the same goals since I was a kid, and so grateful that I have the mother that I do. She always kept me on the right path and encouraged me to succeed and follow my dreams. I'm glad I have the drive that I do and used my mindset in a positive way.I truly believe my future is bright and full of many opportunities. Only time will tell. As long as I continue following the path that I'm on now, I'll be perfectly fine.

So to my alternate self, I'm glad I didn't give in to peer pressure and live a life that corresponds to those that made unfortunate decisions. I'm glad I'm thriving and working to achieve success. I'm glad I'm not you.

Once again, toot-toot.

JordynL
JordynL

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