What to expect when you are not expecting (to be 30 and back at school)…

I thought turning 30 would be a more pivotal moment for me. I would have some kind of epiphany and all of the confusion, irresponsibility and bad decision-making of my 20’s would suddenly cease to exist. And then we get to the expectations; in my early 20’s I would have predicted a stable job, a flat, a doting fiancé, maybe even a pre-child dog…why not.

Yet here I find myself at SCA, as a slightly older student. No flat, no job, no fiancé and the worst part, no damn dog. When my school application was successful last year, I was ecstatic. But once the elation subsided, I was hit with a sudden fear.

Will everyone think I’m old? Will I be like some sad hanger on’r? Will people get my niche 90’s references? Now 2 terms in, I can answer these burning questions to anyone reading this who’s considering SCA as a career change, maybe a little later in life.

Will I be older than the majority? Most people are in their 20’s, so yes. I get the impression it shifts very slightly every year, but most people will be in their mid 20’s. More importantly though, it doesn’t actually matter. Age really doesn’t seem relevant as the majority of your reputation is built on your work. What you are like to work with and the kind of stuff you churn out. Most other things, such as age, just aren’t important.

Marc is pretty open about the fact that he likes taking on older students. “Some of our most talented and inspirational students joined us in their 30s and 40s” he tweets.

Furthermore, everyone is wonderfully weird in their own way. If Marc accepted your application, chances are you’re a bit of a weirdo too. This creates a brilliant sense of belonging, which goes beyond age. For a lot of us, SCA is the first time you find “your people”, you can’t put your finger on it, you just feel a sense of belonging. Prepare to be surrounded by a lot of like-minded people, that you probably have more in common with than most people your age.

As for the industry, will it be too late to join an industry that fetishises being young? Everyone I have asked, says a flat-out no. Good creatives join dots. The more references and life experiences you have, the more dots you have to join.

And if you want further proof, there are a whole host of creatives who made it big after entering the industry a little bit later. Vicky Maguire (28), Steve Harrison (30) and David Ogilvy (38) just to name a few.

So, if you’re questioning whether to throw in all the normal stuff to go back to school, just do it! After all, you are better off being at the bottom of a ladder that you really want to climb, rather than partway up a ladder that you don’t.


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