This Is Me

My parents weren’t rich, nor were they poor. They weren’t smart, but not dumb either. I was born the middle child to a middle family, and I have felt permanently stuck in the middle.

At school I was never good at sports, and never excelled at my studies. Playtime would come and I would walk with my one friend and listen to him sing, never joining in myself. I played the cello for a few years but when the time came to perform in front of the whole school I quickly gave it up. I was determined not to be noticed at any cost.

In secondary school I found I had a knack for computers, and was able to bypass all the blocks that were put up at the school. Hating having to actually do work I used this to sit and play games all day long. Eventually, to my horror, this got me noticed. Students flocked to me to help them access the games too, and I obliged, but only so they would leave me alone. Even the people who bullied me sought my help. Funny how they didn’t actually realise who I was until after I could do something for them.

IT was the only class I managed to get an A in, so I took it further with my GCSEs. I even picked up a few ‘how to’ books on hacking, just to see if I could. I tried out what I read at school and was overjoyed when all the teachers personal emails became available. I found out the maths teacher and drama teacher were having an affair, and lots of other juicy gossip.

One day I was at home on my computer and decided to see what else I could hack in. rather successfully I hacked into the computers of other users on Myspace. This was the day my hacking got me noticed by more than my fellow students, and what I considered worse than being found out by a teacher or my parents. This was the day I was contacted by the government.

I remember the guilt I felt, the utter panic. I turned my computer off and back on several times hoping the email would go away, but every time it was still there. I thought about telling my parents, but that would mean having to own up to what I did, which felt a lot worse than going to prison at the time. In the end I went to my mum, with my tail between my legs, and cried for an hour. She made me a hot chocolate and told me not to worry, she would deal with it. I could always rely on my mum to deal with my problems.

The next day I was asked to sit at the table. My mum and dad sat opposite but didn’t say anything for a long time, and just as I was ready to cry again there was a knock at the door. A man in a suit showed up and sat with us. He talked to me for about an hour about what I had done. I wanted to cry again when he started talking, but held myself together and listened to the lecture, expecting myself to be taken to jail any second. The conversation quickly turned to him praising me and my skills. He ended up offering me a job, which my mum quickly turned down. He left his card, which I still keep in my wallet now, and said to give him a call when I was ready.

I finished secondary school with less than average grades, and one shiny A. I stayed on at sixth form for a year and a half before deciding I was sick to death of the dull mediocrity of school. I phoned the number I received years earlier and somehow the guy remembered me. I started an apprenticeship, he claimed it was the only way they could know if I had potential. I ended my first year there surpassing the guy teaching me, but was very grateful that I had the opportunity.

I was moved to the secret services own computing department. They set me the task of analysing chatter for several months, which was as boring as it sounds. I hacked into many peoples computers but the thrill wasn’t there anymore. I was spying on peoples secrets, uncovering things they wanted hidden, and I wasn’t interested in anything I found. This was when I decided I wanted to do something else. This was when I applied to Christ Church.

I chose to write, wanting to do something more creative and I am terrible at drawing. I am now in my second year and though it is different from my life as a government spy, I am thoroughly enjoying the ride.

This is me, a former spy turned student, learning to be more than a tool.

With thanks to Heidi Conroy

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