I just had one of the most demanding weeks of my life. To preface this story, my English class is set up kinda different. Rather than there being specific due dates for assignments, there’s a list of available assignments and then benchmark dates where each student needs a certain amount of points by the listed day in order to stay enrolled in the class. I had both Econ and Calc tests that I had been focusing most of my energy on, so English homework had been put on a back burner. I took both tests, and my studying had paid off. I was happy and decided I should probably see when my next benchmark for English was. “Uh oh…” I thought to my self. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my deadline was the upcoming Friday. “That’s closer than I thought, but I’ve got a week to get the points required. I’ll be fine”. I was only about 20 points short of the upcoming deadline and was sitting pretty well in the class. I looked over the assignment list and had an awesome idea. Rather than do a small, quick, assignment that will put me just above the required amount, I’ll choose the biggest one I can find so I’ll be well above the points required for the next couple deadlines, and will be able to focus heavily on Math and Econ and have a stress free end of the semester finishing up minor, effortless English assignments just to keep me in the grade A range. I’m glad I decided to do this, but boy did I not realize what I was getting myself into.
I chose an assignment called “Operation Finding Nemo”. Worth 200 points, I knew this would set me very far ahead in the class, and the interesting title caught my attention. I read the briefing and basically I had to put my self in the shoes of a secret agent. The website I used for English, “D2l” was under attack by an unknown hacker and based on a list of clues they’d send me, I had to figure out who the culprit was, what their motive was, and then write a 1000 word minimum argumentative essay based on my findings. Sounded like a lot of work, but I didn’t expect the largest assignment available to be easy. Plus, I’m a weirdo who’s brain is bursting with creativity so I love stuff like this. I clicked on the assignment, and down the sleepless rabbit hole I went.
The clues were bizarre. Basically just series of numbers and letters and random words, and I started to think I might have gotten myself into a project that wasn’t meant to only take a week. My competitive nature kicked in though, and the clues were too intriguing to turn back now. It was go time. Basically my week went like this: 9am wake up and eat breakfast, 10am-12:30pm go to class, 1:30-5:00pm go to work, and then from 6:30pm-3:00am or so I’d grind out the answer this mystery. Luckily my Math and Econ tests were the week before so we were just learning basic stuff in new sections of the textbook and homework for those classes was pretty simple, which meant the majority of my study time could be spent on this pressing assignment. I spent hours at my computer, coffee after coffee trying to decode the clues. One by one I figured them out and started to build a web in my notebook in an attempt to connect the dots. They all were pointing to a town in Ontario called Kitchner so I knew that had to be important, but I had no idea why. I worked out many hunches but all seemed to far fetched. Then on Wednesday I received a clue “H3105 4 6 16”. “That’s gotta be a room number at MCTC” I thought. Later that day, I went to the room and sure enough on the interior of the door frame there was a list of numbers and letters. I plugged in “4 6 16” and got the acronym “CEO”. “What the heck is that supposed to mean…” I wondered exasperatedly. None of my hunches had to do with CEOs and I felt like I was back to square one.
I talked to myself out loud on the drive home trying to piece together this perplexing puzzle. Every time I had an idea, I’d pull over and google it. I looked up businessmen from Kitchener Ontario and got nothing, I wondered if CEO was meant in a different manner and stood for something else, and still came up with nothing. A 15 minute drive turned into 30 minutes, but as I pulled into my driveway it hit me. “Companies based out of Kitchener Ontario” I typed into google. I clicked a link to a list, and sure enough right at the top of the list was “Desire 2 Learn (D2l)”. I punched my steering wheel out of joy and excitedly yelled out some expressions I’m not gonna repeat in this blog post. I had figured it out! The CEO of D2l had hacked his own website to blame and shutdown his only competitor “Blackboard Inc.” in order to gain full control of the multi-billion dollar e-learning industry. The next two days were spent working out my argument and essay, and at 10pm on Friday, just hours before it was due I turned in an exceptional paper that far surpassed the minimum word count.
Although the investigation had no real meaning, I felt as though I had just caught the most wanted man in the world and although I was running on fumes, I didn’t feel tired as my fingers flied excitedly across the keyboard explaining in detail my investigative process and who the culprit was. I ended up getting an A on that assignment, and now I am able to focus more heavily on Econ and Math rather than stressing on the next English benchmark. As demanding as that week was, I had a blast working on that assignment and in a way fed off the stress I was feeling. I’m very glad I chose such a challenging assignment, and it was 100% worth being in bed all weekend in order to catch up on sleep.