This is an advert – By @sammcollinss

By Sam Collins


This is an advert


Last week I found out that the primary function of these ‘SCABs’ is to help sell the school to prospective students. Although weren’t given much more detail than that, I assume this broadly functions as follows from our Dean – Marc’s – perspective: 


  1. Give your students compulsory blogs to write, reflecting things they’ve learnt at school
  2. Skim them to make sure they don’t reveal your dastardly marketing techniques
  3. Publish them across your website and social media 


In doing so, anyone with loose digital connections to anyone at the school, is consistently informed of the personal thoughts and learnings of its students. Perhaps prospective students will spot them in their feeds and be minded to apply. 


Makes a lorry load of sense to me.


But at the SCA, we’re encouraged to break the rules; to turn up the volume. So, hold on to your seats, hats and any loose items, as I send the mystique of the SCA and this mountainous fourth wall crumbling before your very eyes. 


When I applied to the school, SCABs were one of the first things I read. I poured over what must have been at least 100 of them. I was fascinated by their divergence — in tone of voice, opinion and the array of topics they seemed to cover. To me they seemed to be a collection of musings by an eclectic, exclusive bunch of young people who were in states of flux, and who appeared to be on a rollercoaster-ride of persistent challenge. 

I liked the sound of them. I wanted to be friends with them.


I didn’t however, realise they were compulsory. When I learnt that they were, it took the glint off. Having first thought they were written out of an overflow of passion and desire to share experience, I felt let down. 


I also questioned their naming. ‘SCAB’ — a word I imagine precious few (morally dubious) people respond positively to. A word whose primary association is in relation to a partially healed wound. To me, the word ‘scab’ is nothing short of grotesque. Having learnt that these SCABs are used as adverts for the school, the naming of them puzzled me even more. Given Marc’s obsession with semiotics, communication and the oft cited ‘sticky’ test, I’d be interested to learn how and why these were christened with a word that carries with it such negative connotations. 


Perhaps ‘SCAB’ carries with it a grimacing shock factor that helps to attract the wonderful and bizarre characters that interview and are subsequently accepted for a place on this joyous course. 


Either way, Marc’s tactics to grow the school’s reputation is truly admirable. He has expertly harnessed a truly staggering network of industry greats and a rigorous, mentor-led education to create an environment that is truly electric. It’s no surprise that so many SCABs are so profound in their content — their authors are going through a significant, explosively rapid change in their personal and professional development. This reincarnation of the SCA is in many ways a grassroots movement — Marc tells us the vast majority of incoming students hear about the school from friends, or friends of friends. Or indeed, from SCABs.


On reflection (indeed what these SCABs are meant to be) I’ve come to admire the way the school operates — from its absurdly talented and experienced roster of mentors, all the way to exactly how it attracts young talent.

It’s a privilege to be a part of this place. It’s had a profound effect on the way I think about myself, other people and the systems that govern how the world operates. I sincerely hope that, in the future, I am in a position where I’m able to give back to it in a meaningful way given the positive impact it’s had on me. 

Whilst I’d still suggest changing the name of these to something less dry and crusty, these are all adverts. And, given the way I’ve ended this particular one, it seems bloody good ads too.




Related SCABs

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