She stood up from her bed. It was 03.02 in the morning. She hadn’t slept. She started to read the prayers she learned from her grandmother. Her stomach started to ache. She put her hands together on her stomach. She leaned towards her knees. Her head was almost touching her knees. She stood in the middle of her past and her future. Sabiha Rıfat built her first bridge in between.
On that day, she stopped by her high school friend Nesibe Hanım and, with the order of Mustafa Kemal, she heard that female students would also be admitted to the Civil Engineering Department of "Mühendishane-i Bahri Hümâyun", now called Istanbul Technical University. What great news this was... However, the day she heard the news was the last day for applications. She did not hesitate. She ran out of breath as she ran through the door of the faculty building. The officials paid attention to the sound of heels echoing in the high ceiling corridors of the baroque building. For the first time in the history of that building, the sound of heels echoed in such a determined tone.
When the officers in charge of receiving the applications said that the entrance exam would be held the next day and that she "better not waste her time", Sabiha Rıfat lost her temper:
"None of your business, sir! Tell me the terms of registration!" she said.
She had a diploma, two passport photographs, advanced mathematics knowledge, determination to work, self-confidence, a childhood she had left behind with poverty and various difficulties, an identity given to her by a brilliant republic that was established by freeing herself from captivity.
She could not sleep ... She prepared her dress, which she wore only on special occasions, in the evening and hung it on the door of the double-door wooden closet. Just like her father had his officer uniform neatly hung in his room...