By Phil Le Brun
With a few briefs left to do and only a couple of weeks of school left, it seems like now is a good a time as any to reflect upon the first term at SCA.
When I was accepted into the school I was on the other side of the world, surprised and thrilled when Marc said those magic words. But alongside those feelings was a pang of trepidation and a flood of internal questions. From the practical concerns of surviving in our pricey city without a salary to the more personal; will I have good ideas? Will I find someone I can work with? Will everyone else be better than me?
Now months later, those questions still rattle round in my brain, still unanswered, but they no longer give me a knot in my stomach. I now see them as a challenge. Pushing me to want to be better. Nothing is ever finished and everything is a process. I’ve learnt that and as I think about everything else I’ve learnt this term, I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
Like some of the other students, I was lucky enough to go to University. A privilege others much more deserving than me will never experience and lots of talented others will never need. But for me it was the right thing. The friends I met there are the ones I’ll always have and I studied a subject which will continue to interest me beyond anything else. I learnt a huge amount, and despite the subject matter being specific, as I think about what I actually know from it now, the edges of my memories are soft and my points of reference are largely emotional. I remember faces, experiences and places, but not particulars. No tangible approaches to life, ways of thinking, or processes I’ve carried into my adult life.
This is where SCA is different. From the first day we walked up the staircase we were thrown into sessions designed to open us up to one another and explore the playfulness required to be more creative. From life drawing to improvised comedy and free writing, my years of cultivated inhibitions started to shed. We’ve been pushed to think more laterally and see things from other people’s perspectives. Learn when to be brave, when to be loud and when to observe and crucially listen. We’ve had sessions, master-classes and reflections that have confused and delighted me, made me uncomfortable and made me laugh. Code school, new craft skills and the nuts and bolts of strategy have pushed me to find another gear I wasn’t sure I had. I’ve learnt that hard work beats talent. With the creative briefs, topical ads and comedy school I’ve also had my first proper taste of feedback. Sometimes it doesn’t taste good, but you’ve got to drink it all anyway. Seek criticism, not praise.
It’s been a busy term and a challenge. I am tired and there are certain things I know I can do differently to maintain a better balance. So I am very much looking forward to the Christmas break. It seems odd to say, but I’m certain I’ll suffer some stimulation withdrawal symptoms. To spend every day in the company of inspirational people and curious minds is something I will never take for granted. I know it’s going to get tougher, but I’ve learnt more in the past few months than in three years at University, so bring it on.