Social Engineering (Phishing) - Senior Student
For most of my life, I have always followed the rules. I did what I was told and stayed within the boundaries. In high school, when I was offered two paths, Science or Business, I chose Science and stayed the course. I blinked, and had graduated from Antigua State College with a diploma in Advanced level Sciences, and the sad realization that I had no real interest in pursuing a career in the field. A smidge of rebellion peered through. Then, I made the first major decision as a young adult that would shape my life. I traveled to the United States to study English literature, Writing and Music composition at university. I told myself that I chose this path out of the fear that I wasn’t smart enough to do anything more academically challenging. However, on my journey, I often grappled with how much I actually believed this. I soon discovered that what I really feared was being different, and choosing a path that truly represented me. Consequently, I felt the urge to hone my natural talents and to crack the lid of the box that confined me, so I persisted.
Three years later, in 2012, I would return to Antigua having completed my degree. Though my perception of life had changed, and my circumstances and family altered, Antigua had remained the same. In 2013, reality hit me. Repaying my student loan became my priority, and with my mother long retired, my father never present, and my brother’s recent life-changing illness, I also found myself the primary breadwinner of my household. Thus, I accepted a teaching position – the sound, stable and only job that was being offered to me. The years that would follow merged into a blur, as my life plateaued into mundaneness, struggles and normality. What newfound sense of individuality I had garnered was quickly stifled by duty, and expectations of being content with staying in line. However, since the start of my teaching career, the nagging urge to do more, to be more, to challenge myself grew from a tiny seed stirring my stomach into something I could no longer suppress, something untamable.
A chance encounter would introduce me to computer networking in 2017. This was enough to create a spark. I was lucky to get started for free with CCNA Routing and Switching. Later, further feeding this newfound interest would mean enrolling in the paid CompTIA Network+ training course that soon replaced it. I had no idea where this would lead. I just knew that Networking was something that I wanted to continue to do. I was thrilled by the intellectual stimulation it allowed, and there was the lingering possibility of new job offers.
Just like that, I was awakened. The opportunity for my second chance dangled before my eyes. In 2018, I sought out a scholarship from the Prime Minister’s Office with two things certain in my mind – one, that I wanted to further my studies, and two, that I wanted to continue challenging myself intellectually. This led me to an online master’s program in cybersecurity. Thus, I took on the challenge of pursuing the master’s cybersecurity program online while still attending classes in networking fundamentals, locally, and working full time as an English language and literature teacher.
I completed the master’s degree in cybersecurity management in 2019, and by the end of 2020, I had finished CompTIA training in Network+. After all the work that I had put in, I thought that I had finally done enough to shift careers, from teaching to cybersecurity. I thought that I would be met with an abundance of new opportunities. Instead, I fought with disappointment for months, with little to no chances as I struggled to wedge a foot between any door I could find in Antigua. My perception, hopeful again, had changed, but Antigua remained the same.
Fast forward to 2022. Adam Dennis appeared on the local news station to promote AntiguaRecon. Without hesitation, I took the chance to reach out. I hoped that being a part of AntiguaRecon would aid my efforts to make a smoother transition into the field of cybersecurity. It was a relief to finally hear, “Yes,” and to be given the opportunity to lay the foundation for the life that I envision for myself. AntiguaRecon continues to inch me closer to achieving this career change. Being a part of the program has taught me that I no longer need to limit anything that I want to achieve. As a black Caribbean woman, I can accept that becoming a cybersecurity professional is a facet of what now defines me, as I fully embrace the fact that I am meant to step outside the box.