Back to School – 2.0

There is a Jesuit saying “Give me the child till seven and I will show you the man”. Ignatius of Loyola, the zealous founder of that Catholic order knew the importance of an early education in those formative years.

Growing up, I was always running around, falling down, picking up cuts and grazes. But I dreaded scabs more than most as I would get keloid scars. These little raised ridges that would form as my skin healed. Eventually I grew to like them as every scab told a story.

This is my first blog. And a SCAB no less. The process of penning this SCAB has surprisingly taken me back to my primary school days. I remember that first day nervous energy. How in the weeks that followed, that anxious excitement of embarking on the unknown was soon directed towards doing fun stuff and actually learning the vital skills of numeracy and literacy.

The aptly named ‘Oaklands Prep’, was a converted Edwardian home in a leafy green South Manchester suburb, with an oak tree in its front garden. It was a small school, with a warm and friendly atmosphere, staffed by caring and capable teachers. Those no nonsense ladies made sure we knew where the apostrophe or decimal place should be. I still have friends that I keep in touch with from those early years. We all share fond memories. There was always colour and artwork on the walls, break time fun and games and home time shenanigans. That little school grounded my peers and I in the fundamentals. We’d probably all agree that if we ever received an education, it was there. High school for most of us turned out to be a conveyor belt of academic and extra-curricular horrors

My first day of school was at seven years old. My first day at the SCA will be at thirty-seven years old. One part of my brain is saying “this is hardly a stage in life to be going back to school” usually followed by “you’re bonkers, moving to London after a pandemic and with the worst financial meltdown in history looming”. But somehow the draw of a small creative school, with top-flight faculty, a colourful cohort of potential friends and the opportunity to learn skills and develop myself, easily overcomes those self-doubting voices. Instinctively, something feels right. I’ve come to know that small spaces can have a huge impact on your life.

My back to school nostalgia has had me remembering the mad dash before the start of term. Making sure uniforms, shoes, PE kits, stationary etcetera are ready. This time round it has been, a laptop, Adobe subscription, reading list and even a puppet. I’ve been preparing myself for the world of advertising I’ll be venturing into. The once unintelligible acronyms for agency names are now familiar initials. I’ve been introduced to the wisdom of such luminaries as Ogilvy, Gossage and Bernbach. Part of my nightly routine has been listening to the inquisitive voice of Dave Dye. I’m trusting in the process. Committing to the programme. And having faith that at the end of it all, I’ll be ready for the big wide world…again. 

Perhaps the Jesuits were right. You can take the boy out the school but you can’t take the school out of the boy. 


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