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Pay vs Passion: Redux



GrrCON 2018 has come and passed. It's been an interesting year since the last one with a whole lot happening since then. Let's look at some of it...

  • Accepted to grad school
    • Against all of my own beliefs, I got accepted to graduate school. This semester includes a class in social engineer, IoT, and finally homeland security. It's been a wild semester so far. I've had the chance to work on some great projects and learn some really interesting concepts. I won't say it's all been great. It's been incredibly busy! I'm working part-time, TA'ing, and going to school full time. Hard to find time for much more in all honesty. Not every day does it feel like it's worth it, but looking at the semester so far it has been.
  • Ran a teen hacking program at the local public library
    • This was pretty awesome honestly. I happened to mention to a friend that I was thinking about doing a teen program to get kids into hacking. She just happened to work at the public library and got me in touch with the director of teen programs. Now only four kids showed up. Even though the turnout was...a bit low the event was a success in my mind. The kids loved the idea of using OSINT too look into their own presence online and they were absolutely into the lockpicking. Shout out to the girl who picked the locks from my own personal struggle box!
  • Went to DEF CON, THOTCON, Blackhat, Circle City Con, B-Sides Indy
    • It's been a wild year for cons! I think it was a banner year for how many I was able to attend honestly. DEF CON and Blackhat were amazing experiences. A bit overwhelming for someone losing their summer camp virginity, but still amazing. So many great memories! Running around with friends hunting down badges at DC, going to the afterparty at THOTCON, and volunteering at CCC!
  • Got first place in the OSINT CTF at GrrCON and won a black badge
    • Wild! I can't describe it as anything more than wild. This was the first CTF win that I have been part of and my first black badge win! Shout out to @Twarl0f for securing the winning points with four seconds left on the clock! Went into the weekend saying that we would win first place in the CTF and did exactly that! 

So how are things going now?

A lot better!

I'd be lying if I said there haven't been challenges along the way. I'm incredibly busy and feeling the effects of the stress. Imposter syndrome hitting hard from both the InfoSec community but also academia now. It's so worth it though! I'm getting to do my first on-site physical pen. tests this semester! There is some amazing research happening in IoT. I'm so glad that I made the choice to pursue this opportunity. Without a doubt, the last year has reaffirmed that you should go after it if the chance is offered!

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