My Year at the SCA. – By @G_Medford

My Year at the SCA. 

I have never in my life done anything as difficult, or as competitive as doing this course. Would I go back and do it all again? Let’s be honest I would, so long as I had a break before. My year has been a journey of self-discovery and a test of how far my limit is until I burn out. But, surviving the SCA must be one of my greatest achievements to date. It has had its highs and it has had its lows, but I would not change it for the world. Okay, that was a lie. There are a few things I would change but buy me a pint and I’ll give you a list. 

Unlike some of my peers, I literally found out about the SCA a month before I applied, after being pointed in its direction by a good friend of mine, who saw me going through a shit time at my former job. They saw me wasting my creative talents, doing mind-numbing work for a corporate system that just saw me as just a number. Over the years I have dabbled in several creative endeavours and some may say I was just unlucky with the way things turned out. 

The day of my interview shook my world. The curse of my bad luck had fractured slightly, and things started to change. Marc saw something in me that had been missed by many and offered me a Scholarship to pursue a journey into Advertising. It may have been over my head, but sometimes you must go in at the deep end. So, I quit my job and applied to drive for Uber. 

The start of the term they tell you about Imposter Syndrome and how you feel like you should not be here, that you are a fraud and to be honest it is one hundred percent accurate. Being in a room with some the best talent is daunting and makes you really question if you are good enough to be there and for the most of the year, until about couple weeks before I wrote this, it had been a feeling that stayed with me. 

Not having any savings or anyone to help me at the start, I had to work during my time at the school. Trying to balance SCA from Monday to Friday and driving an Uber from Friday to Sunday has to be the most self-destructive thing I’ve done, but perseverance was key. I knew I had to put in the most so I could get out the most, making sure I threw myself at every opportunity that came in and outside of the school, just to make sure that this year was not wasted.

After an exceedingly difficult and challenging first couple of terms, the course stepped up into another gear, where the focus was now on making connections with the cohort, to find your match and evolve into a creative pair. I felt, due to working while studying, this was one aspect that I had neglected, for I had not made too many connections in the beginning. I felt slightly alienated and it started to bring me down, but I pushed on. 

I had to make to do with the cards I was dealt and work with whoever was available, making the best of every situation. Having rocky partnerships early on may have brought my score down, but it was learning from my mistakes that meant I was still improving overall. This was something I learned the hard way. I struggled a lot when I had to put a book together by myself. My dyslexia amplified the amount of time it would have taken me to write anything and impacted on the level of work I could produce.

The Covid-19 situation happened, and it had been a blessing and a curse over the year that I had chosen to study, forcing myself to stop working and giving myself more time to focus on the work. I could do much more with the free time I had gained from my weekends, but lockdown did come with a price. I lost a friend to depression and suicide and lost a pillar of my family when my grandmother passed away due to covid.

I used these events in my life to help me focus more on what is at hand: the life I want to live and the level of work I want to produce and put my name on. Using the little money, I had, I bought more books on design and the D&AD Annuals, reading them in between burning the candle at both ends, doing all the briefs the school throws at you.

But the hard work has started to pay off. Week by week, a slow but steady incline started to happen to the work that I produced, and I caught myself by surprise. I no longer feel disheartened and I have a book that I am proud to show Executive Creative Directors. 

What I have learned the most is a lot of people actually do have your best interests at heart and do want to see you thrive, just as long you bring something to work with in the beginning. Thanks to all the mentors and masterclasses over the year and to all the wonderful faculty members: Max, Amy and Marcia, I have really appreciated the help, support and the words of encouragement from yourselves. It has helped me persevere and finish the year with a book score to be proud of. 

Now, on to the next part of my journey.

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