My Memorable High School Experience: Rites and Rights

Credits: Walter Pardo, Managing Partner

My eyes analyzed the horizon, wavering for a moment to admire the frost on the trees, the silvery icicles hanging off the lampposts. I was flying, soaring further, higher, faster, away from the world I knew, and into the unknown.

Well actually, I was driving.

Driving is a rite of passage, a taste of freedom and independence, not just from parents and their restraints, but also societal shackles, at least for me. It's a chance to defy years of oppression, attain liberty from an otherwise certain future of subservience, and garner the rights of an equal citizen.

Sign Up for E-News

My family is from a conservative part of the Middle East, and has always been protective of their daughters. Growing up, I was always hesitant to speak out, always put my family’s values before my desire to go to birthday parties, to have sleepovers, to play outside under sparkling night skies. I didn’t mind being an obedient daughter, didn’t mind making sacrifices – until I took driver's education at school.

The wheel enticed me. It was a chance to take over my life, but at what cost? Defiance? Dishonor? I thought of my grandmother, who wasn't even allowed to ride her bike outside because it meant she had control over her whereabouts. A shudder went down my spine at the thought of such oppression, and it spurred me to fight against this destiny. If I didn't seize the opportunity to get my license, I would only secure my future as a second rate citizen, always dependent on others to make my decisions for me.

Frustrated yet determined, I practiced for hours, motivating myself to move past failures until I had successfully brought to life the diagrams and maneuvers I had studied in class. By the end of the month, I was a pro at parallel parking, reverse parking, and merging. There was little more to do but voice myself to my parents after sixteen years. With a rather, dare I say, impressive PowerPoint, I presented my argument to take the road test and held my breath; my future rested upon their response.

Needless to say, I had nothing to worry about; they were obviously going to let me get my license, but they were surprised by my firm message. It set a precedent, told them that I was going to be different from other women in my family. I would pursue higher education, apply to co-ed colleges, and even play sports. However, while getting my license was a victory it didn't mean complete equality – I still have to overcome restraints and injustices. Regardless, I promised myself to embrace the freedom I’ve found, to always voice my opinions and desires. Someday I want to find equality for other girls like me, tell them that it’s ok to speak out, to be heard. But for now, I will venture to drive beyond cultural and societal boundaries, to never limit my potential to fit into others' molds.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, February 19 – Sunday, February 25, 2018


By Galina Natenzon

Friends of the Library are continuing their book collection in preparation for Annual Book Sale.  Kids are off from school on Monday for Presidents’ Day – bring them to the library!  We have plenty for them to do.  For adults, Professor Licklider’s second lecture on North Korea will take place on Tuesday.  The ...

Imagine a Chatham Toboggan Ride from the Top of Fairmount Avenue to Main Street

Did you know….
there was a time when Chatham kids could ice skate from downtown Chatham all the way to Florham Park? And that a toboggan ride could last from the top of Fairmount Avenue down to Main Street and beyond?

Those were the days!

This was back in the early to mid-1900s. The Passaic River meandered through grassy meadows and woods on the north side of Chatham. The marshy ...


February 20, 2018

To the Editor,

I told my daughter I needed to write about gun violence. Know what she told me? “Mom, be sure you’re not too polarizing. People won’t listen.” She’s right. At age eleven she’s figured out that we adults need to be reminded how to speak to one another in order to fix a problem. But I have hope and belief that we can fix that discourse in our ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

Mindfulness and Meditation Courses Beginning March 2018

February 20, 2018

Mindfulness and Meditation Courses Beginning March 2018

-Space is limited as classes will be small-

MADISON, NJ – In celebration of the new spring season, come experience and enjoy Mindfulness and Meditation with Wendi L. Dumbroff, MA, LPC. Dumbroff is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Madison, New Jersey, where she specializes in individual, family, ...