Trouble Comes In Many Forms

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 19, 2021

When I was a teenager, I went to a boarding school for “troubled teen girls” for a short period of time. I was physically ill after finally being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and my missing school was leading my grades to drop to the point where I was on the verge of being kicked out, so they enrolled me for a few trimesters as a way for me to catch up. A lot of the girls were suffering from severe behavioral issues and returning from wilderness camps, so it was a pretty intense group of kids.

Most Internet use was forbidden except in connection with schoolwork, and all of our computers in the computer lab faced inward so the teacher who was running the computer lab could see our screens. There were also very strict blocks that blocked almost everything except for educational websites. They’d never had any issues, until me.

I was annoyed at these restrictions and wanted to talk to my friends via email and post on forums. It was nothing malicious at all; besides my health issues, I was a pretty good kid. Unfortunately for the school, I was the first student that happened to know about using proxy servers to get around these restrictions.

I was constantly alt+tabbing, using tiny windows, and being on the lookout for when the lab monitor looked my way. This went on for months before a couple of students found out and asked me about it. I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to cause trouble, and I knew that everyone suddenly having access would be impossible to hide. Of course, that meant that they went and told the principal about it.

They had no idea how I managed to do it. Even the so-called IT people for the school had no explanation! Frustrated, the principal forbade me from entering the computer lab again until I told them how I managed to get around the restrictions.

Unfortunately for them, I was leaving the school soon after anyway, so it didn’t make a difference. Amusingly, they wound up calling my parents because of the “trouble” I was making and complained that I was being uncooperative.

I don’t remember if anyone else managed to figure out what I was doing, and years later, my mom admitted that she was so proud to find out that the “trouble” I was making was being the first person to outsmart the school just so I could check my email and post on some gaming forums.

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