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Jr. Pentester - Senior Student

It started during the pandemic as most great, modern stories do. I once pursued a career in medicine, but as most find out, childhood aspirations don’t often have much longevity. Letting go felt like a betrayal of self, and sometimes it still does.

I looked for a new path in life. I knew whatever career I was interested in had to be flexible and stimulating. Information technology was interesting to me, but I had no niche. So, I studied basic web design languages, while searching for two years for a job.

It’s a common thing that a person who does well during their schooling is deemed “the smart one”, or is told, “you’re going to do great things in life” by most people. 

Yet, opportunity is not a frequent visitor for anyone (sorry Sondhiem).  It’s even less common when you are a young, female immigrant in a small island state. Such societies run everything on the basis of who you know.  Think of it as a non-familial form of nepotism. School didn’t teach that; School taught that everything was based on meritocracy, what you gave is what you got. So, when I fell short of what I thought I should be able to do, guilt crept in. It’s always at the most opportune time too! 😉 I applied for every program and job under the sun, but I heard only crickets. Then, to my surprise, my swimming instructor sent me a flyer about AntiguaRecon.

Hmm, cybersecurity? Sounds interesting! I applied and I was interviewed for the program by Adam Dennis and waited with baited breath. My acceptance into the program coincided with my gaining a job, and things were looking up.  Yay me!

However, managing a new job and an educational program at the same time was a challenge that was quite daunting.  I considered giving up my spot, the first of many times I assure you,  but I did not. 

Why I didn’t quit was not particularly noble or inspiring; it was born out of a fear of missing out (“FOMO” for some). What if I didn’t join and I regretted it? What if this opportunity could lead me somewhere positive?

To this day, I still cannot argue with my reasoning, and I hope that it continues to motivate me. Yet, even without this question hovering in my headspace, the experiences and teachings offered to me due to the generosity of our sponsors, especially those at Island Academy, aren’t one’s I’d readily trade.

AntiguaRecon wasn't just an educational course, it was a resocialization attempt socialising us into the field of Cyber Security and an introduction to the niches in this nook of Information Tech.

AntiguaRecon also emphasised lessons in teamwork and not being afraid to admit you’re stupid (jk), only to be immediately reassured it’s not just you, it’s everyone!  Cybersecurity teaches you to deal with failure.  You can put in hours of work and get nothing… and then, Boom!, you’ve solved the challenge. If such sentiment deters you, then please refer to the aforementioned question, “What if?” This program isn't for the weak of heart, nor the strong. It’s for the stubborn, the crazy, everything and everyone wonderfully in between. 

I wholeheartedly believe that not just one, but quite a few of those participating in this program will someday make me say: “Hey, I knew that guy or girl!” Who knows? I just might be one of them!

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