The Connector
The Connector
Osayi Endolyn, editor-in-chief.

A virus of discontent is spreading.

Watch out, it might get you, too. Actually, you might have already been gotten.

For most of us, SCAD Atlanta is a great place to learn and practice our craft. Students come here to grow, experiment, be challenged and excel.

But if you listen closely, you’ll hear it. Pay attention before class, after class, around the Hub or in the library. Too many of us have found comfort in the exercise of complaining. We’re all guilty of it from time to time. Naturally, I feel the need to complain about it.

Does any of this sound familiar? Professor so-and-so did this. The facilities aren’t that. The guest speakers aren’t good/popular/entertaining enough. MySCAD has a poor layout. The shuttle driver has an attitude problem. And so on.

Are we becoming a university of demanding, victimized Veruca Salt-types? I’m afraid the answer is yes.

The Oxford American Dictionary states that the verb “to complain” means to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event.” Note that the definition doesn’t say anything about achieving a solution as a result.

So why do we do it? What do we get out of crying a river that yields no reward? Some scientists say it’s because we’re truly unhappy. Others say we complain about the little things to unburden ourselves, which in turn, makes us happy. Did you get that? By dumping on everyone else, we avail ourselves to a more positive way of life. I think that’s sad. And yet, I go on.

Here’s the thing. College is not just a place in terms of a brick-and-mortar building. It’s also a period of life when we define who we are as individuals. This time of growth and development is spent not just learning how to be an artist, but learning how to communicate. Students quickly discover that it doesn’t work to talk to your roommate the way you talk to your little brother. Your professor is not your mother, and has probably told you so. Although the SCAD staff is here to serve the student community, they are not servants. Shocking, I know.

Lack of exposure is part of the problem. At SCAD, we have it really good. Don’t think so? The next time you want to complain about the facilities, take a weekend to visit some other colleges. Everything we have isn’t perfect, but there’s a reason jaws drop when walking through the different buildings. Sure, that same Mac might be having problems (again). But then, pick another Mac! Or, could you email Tech Support? Still no response? Ask your professor to follow up. If that doesn’t solve the problem, put it in your course evaluations at the end of the quarter (they do count), and mention it to your dean.

By the way, just consider that knowing who your dean is, is a real perk of being at SCAD Atlanta. The notion that our deans recognize our names and work conveys the close-knit relationships that are available to us. That is not common at most universities. But no one is going to chase you down. If you want something, you have to go get it.

Which brings us to the issue of guest speakers. Let’s just get something straight — the designers, photographers, writers and other art professionals who come to SCAD aren’t doing it for themselves.

Sure, they receive an honorarium for their visit — but their time here is not for their own satisfaction. They come here to be a resource for us. After paying $50,000 a year to train as an artist and have access to such opportunities, why wouldn’t you want to meet people who’ve had some success doing what you want to do? If you don’t bother showing up to these events, consider you might be the reason their visit didn’t bowl you over.

It may be hard at first. Listening to an illustrator who works for a magazine you don’t read, or a designer who makes clothes in a style you can’t stand, might seem pointless. But that’s exactly why we should care. There is always something to learn from people who came before us, for better or worse. I try to lean towards the better.

Take, for example, last quarter, when the famed mystery writer Martha Grimes visited as part of the Ivy Hall Writers Series. I have no interest in writing mysteries, and had never read Grimes’ work. But I prepared for and went to the roundtable discussion, because this woman has been writing professionally for over 25 years. Mystery fan or not, she’s got something I don’t have — experience and international success. I sat my butt in the chair and attentively listened to what she had to say. My life didn’t end. And I actually learned a few things.

And as far as the professors, shouldn’t we cut them a little slack? Sure, some of them are more organized than others. But they’re people, too. They have artistic dreams and families, bills to pay and heads that hurt after hearing all of our complaints. When it’s time to fill out the course evaluations, think about what it would have been like to teach yourself.

Letting off some steam is fine. We all need to vent. As of this writing, it’s working pretty well for me. Still, some of us may be doing more than our fair share.

One way or another, SCAD students invest a great deal by attending this school. Our money, our time, our effort — it matters. We have so many resources available to us — this is an incredible learning environment. But we have to do our part to get the most out of being here. When things fall short, there are avenues to go about addressing it. We must keep in mind, empty complaining won’t get us far, here or out there. And lest we forget, well — just remember how things fared for Veruca.

Contact Osayi Endolyn, editor-in-chief.


  1. Considering how much money we pay for our education, I think we have every right to complain when things do not meet our expectation. It’s great that you can lie back and let your time and energy waste away when things can go to waste, but not everyone is so content.

      1. Yes, keep your head down and never address the problems or issues that you might face at SCAD or in the real world. This line of thinking has certainly never backfired!

  2. Having gotten my BFA in Savannah and now nearly finished with my MFA in Atlanta, I’m in my sixth year as a SCAD student (that’s over a fifth of my life, for those doing the math). One thing I’ve seen/learned in my time is that there are two stereotypes that SCAD students get painted into: if you complain, you’re a whiner. If you’re satisfied with the school (and dare to say so), you’re either on the payroll and toeing the company line, or are just drinking the Kool-Aid. And honestly, there are some truths to those stereotypes.

    There is also, though, a middle ground that most students fall into–that of the student that enjoys and values the education they’re receiving, while recognizing and identifying areas for improvement, and making vocal those perfectly reasonable expectations. Sometimes, time, money, logistics and staff attention allow for those changes to be made. Other times, they don’t. But that’s no different than any other school, or any other business that we will ever work with for that matter. Since college, SCAD specifically, is preparing us for our careers, learning how to work through, past, or around such issues is essential. And learning the right ways to complain (and when to keep your mouth shut) is just as essential a skill. After all, sure, here we’re the paying customers, so we feel like we can (and should) complain whenever things don’t run how we see fit. In the real world, though, the head of the company won’t bend to our will and listen to our incessant criticisms. They’ll fire us and hire someone that’ll show up and do their job without acting like they can run the place better than the owner.

  3. SCAD isn’t perfect. No college is. But we do have it pretty good. We have opportunities that large, public colleges don’t have. Like the opportunity to develop personal relationships with real, working artists, who are often professors. If your expectations are not met, talk to someone at SCAD about it. If not, change schools, don’t waste your money if you’re dissatisfied.

  4. Though I can’t say any of the complaints listed are ones I’ve even made mention of and I don’t attend SCAD Atlanta, their are aspects of SCAD Savannah, that are dozens of times worse then that of Community Colleges, and ya know what, for 50k, I think I have a right to hold them to that standard don’t ya think? SCAD prides itself on having industry professionals, well qualified teachers, and an environment fit to build students into respectable professionals in the industry, but they certainly lack the last statement here. Reasonable parking is a constant issue, dining services are inconvenient and do not cater to the schedules of students with varying work loads, dining services range dramatically from good to poor depending on the area, bus schedules range from too congested to ride, to non existent, making an asset that ALL students are required to pay for, less convenient then free avenues of travel, and safety among others, is always a constant issue because security is lax, and the campus is spread thin for 10 to 12 miles in questionable areas.

    SCAD does surveys, evaluations, but the funny thing is, SCAD has problems and EVERYONE knows about them, but nothing is actually being done about it. I’ve talked to security and staff about them as they’ve arose for me personally, and haven’t found it comforting knowing that problems came before me and remained stagnant, and problems will pass right through my time here with the same result. SCAD focuses on image, why do you think everyone boasts so much? The curriculum is a bit questionable sometimes, but I’m here to get enjoy the college experience and get to where I’m going next. So if I have to ignore the latter for the former, I’ll deal, but it’s not worth what I put in, and if I’d had a second chance, believe I’d have changed it.

    Contentment breeds stagnation, histories shown us that, but if SCAD’s services stay bad, it surely effects them more than it effects me at the end of the day. They’re rid of me in a few years, but those problems only effect the judgement of the next year of students, and word of mouth is a powerful thing now that social networks are the way of the future. Colleges are competitive, and like they said to me, they are a business first and a college second, so as long as they bamboozle a truck load out of you before you leave, they got what they wanted already.

    I understand where your coming from about the complaints, but this isn’t a public school; meeting the bare minimum doesn’t cut it. We pay more then most people will spend on education in their life time, and we need to feel confident that our investment was well worth the time and money; so SCAD needs to step it up. Like alot of SCAD students, I’m only content in the fact I’m here to get what I need and go, my lack of making a scene about my complaints is only because it’s more inconvenient to leave, then it is to deal with it. At the end of the day, complain or not, we are still here, so a degree of trust is still in SCAD, but just because it’s your better then then someone else doesn’t make you good, and just because SCAD’s education is generally good, doesn’t mean its immune to the mountain of issues.

  5. I feel like this article is somewhat unrealistic…SCAD has problems (like any other institution), and just not talking about them won’t make them go away. However, my experience here has been mostly good, due to many different factors, some which I had control over and some which I did not. Most students who I have talked to have things they like and things they don’t…sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it isn’t. The most encouraging thing for me is that the alumni (in my department) spoke very highly of their experience within the program and their experience afterward. The one thing in common between all of them? They all worked very hard.
    SCAD is what you make of it. YOU have to put in an effort too. Complaining never helps, but taking action does. And when trying to get something, being polite goes a long way.

  6. I have always had this problem with other people in my 4 years at SCAD. As an international student, while I don’t have many of the commodities that my fellow students have, at least here I can have MANY commodities that aren’t normally or consistently available in my home country and I am thankful for that.

    For instance, I can’t call my parents whenever I please (its expensive), they can’t send me care packages every two weeks (or ever for that matter, not even on birthdays), I can’t have a car up here, I can’t have food from home here, I only have a limited amount of clothes I can bring in my suitcase (I can’t bring along my whole closet like I’ve seen some people do). And while these aren’t ideal conditions, I can’t complain.

    I make do with what I have and while it’s not everything that I COULD have, it’s quite enough and it is definitely more than enough to survive with. After all, how can I complain if I’m receiving a quality education that is not available in my home country?

  7. This is a great article! I’ve noticed this as well and it makes me very angry.

    I think that a lot of people are what some might call “negative bonders.” In order to connect with other they complain about things and bond over things that they dislike rather than things they like!

  8. There is a right way to complain and a wrong way. The wrong way is to gripe to people who can’t do anything about it. The right way is to spend the time to fill out surveys and to take issues through the correct channels to get them corrected.

    I still have to agree with everyone here that says this is a costly private institution and we have the right to hold them to higher standards than public institutions. In particular, if they can’t straighten out the issues with the quality of online instruction, they shouldn’t continue to offer it. Of course it’s a cash cow for them; online students pay the same price as on-campus students, without access to all of the facilities and resources on campus. But once the word gets around other students will be scared away so maybe they’ll have to straighten it out.

  9. This article says alot about the vibe I’ve gotten from SCAD during my first quarter here… I don’t talk to anybody and I don’t have friends, but I heard a lot of people complaining about the gate at spring house, so I called our dean of students. Turned out no one had said anything to him and right after that the gate has been getting work done on it. It’s not up 100% but its better than broken. I heard it had been broken for weeks before I transferred here… What the hell, other students. Glad to know I can help out, ahaha.

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