How to survive SCA – with dissonance.  By @iamvandale

By Adeline Vandale


How to survive SCA – with dissonance. 

I’ve been willing to write this SCAB for a bit now but I’ve kept postponing.

I don’t think I know better than anyone else to give any advice on how to succeed here.

But what I do know is I survived SCA.

2 years.

One of the things I’ve struggled the most with at first was dissonance.

So I’ve decided to write this SCAB based on it.

Hopefully you’ll get it faster and you’ll already be in a better place to start than I was when I did.

Term One is not the most important term.

Term One is structured in a way to help you understand who you are as a creative.

You’ll go through painting mugs, designing the studio and finding a name for your year.

Which means no advertising brief, no proposition/SMP/strat yet. Or none too important.

No all-nighters, no stress of three deadlines on the same day and no crits because no portfolio.

So just chill. Take it easy.

Term One is the most important term.

Although everyone will mainly be focused on themselves, remember Term One is the one of first impressions.

You’ll be working in bigger groups but everyone will have a first understanding of how you, as a person, work and what your work ethics are.

So if you talk over people, act as if you knew everything, don’t have a team spirit, don’t hand work in – or do but late, whichever the work –, arrive late, leave too early, or just are a d*ck, people will stick labels on you.

So make sure you give the good impressions.

Don’t forget I’m only talking about work here, so keep that in mind and stay true to yourself.


There is no typical day at SCA.

There isn’t, really.

Compared to Uni, you won’t have a weekly schedule.

You’ll never get the same masterclass from the same mentor. And sometimes, you’ll only see a mentor once.

There is no specific time for lunch. Nor for the breaks. You will be working on different things almost every day.

Just be careful, when days are so different, time flies.

Make every day is the same at SCA.

Town Hall 9:30 AM. You need to be in the studio at 9:00 AM minimum.

I suggest you take three weeks before you start at SCA to get used to a new routine. Yours.

You need to have a structure.

I didn’t have one the first year and forced one on myself the second. The difference is so big I couldn’t start explaining.

So while SCA makes every day completely different, my days became quite similar because of my routine. And it helped staying focused.

Just trust me. Stick to a routine.


Sleep as much as you can.

Sleep is essential. Compulsory.

If you think the course will be hard, try going through it with three hours of sleep in the face.

Good f*cking luck.

You’ll be annoying, annoyed, unfocused, irritating and irritable.

Also, nothing will come out of your brain that’ll be worth keeping.

If you have to do an all-nighter, make sure you won’t have to think the next day.

And by that I mean make sure the work you’ll have to do will only be ‘monkey work’.

Don’t sleep too much.

Last year, we were told how much sleep was important.

So I used to wake-up as late as I could to sleep the longest I could.

My boyfriend used to live 5 min away from school – no joke – so my alarm would go off at 8:45 AM.

Which means I would arrive still asleep and would only really wake-up around 10:00 AM.

Obviously, that’s just me. So this really will depend on you.

But I would advise everyone to make sure you wake up at least two hours before you hit the day.

You’ll be surprised of how much you can do and how more productive your mornings will be.


Don’t be selfish.

You’ll learn that you learn the most from the people around you.

So when it’ll come to having ideas, don’t be that pr*ck hiding your paper, keeping secret every little bits of thoughts you get.

Share ideas. Let people build on them. Build on theirs. Your work will only get stronger if you do so.

When it comes to crits, share your contacts. Everyone will get them at some point anyway. And if you share yours, people will share theirs.

Same goes for inspiration. Share your websites, books, galleries.

Share everything.

Be selfish.

You’re here for yourself.

You’re here to get the best portfolio you can make, to get the best job you can get.

Keep that in mind so if during the year you have to make a tough decision – e.g. choosing between two people for a partner – choose what’s best for you. Not them.

You’ve paid £££ to get in there, you’ll give your life to the course. Put yourself first.

But remember, don’t be a d*ck. Stay nice.


Don’t take the course too seriously.

It’s only advertising after all. You’re here to enjoy yourself.

Because if you don’t and aren’t having fun, it’ll come through your work.

So take time to go to galleries, for walks – not just in Brixton during a break, real walks on the weekends.

Go to the movies, call your family and see your friends.

Whatever game Marc will play on you – because he will – take it easy. There’s always a reason behind everything he does/says, and by keeping that in mind, you’ll always be reflecting and looking for an answer. Which will make it easier for you to find it and move on.

It’s all good and if you ever need any help, ask us all. SCA is a family. Seriously.

Take the course the most seriously you can.

It’s only one year – Ô, irony.

One year’s f*ck all in your life. So you will have to sacrifice a lot of things.

No more partying. No more chilling. No more lay-ins.

Don’t get f*cked on the weekends and don’t even think about doing drugs.

This is no joke.

Your behaviour will get you a partner – if you need one.

Your brain and work ethic will get you a job.

Don’t fuck it up by doing any of the above.

And if seeing your friends and family is essential to your wellbeing, remember your priority number one is getting to the end of the course, as the best version of yourself.

Keep your goals in mind andf*ck everything coming through your way off.

This year, I’ve done everything differently from my first year.

I had to figure out all of the above myself but you don’t.

And if you need anything else, please slide into my DM’s and add a meme or two: @iamvandale.

Good luck… and don’t fuck it up!

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