Disclaimer: No one's experience in nail school will be the same as their friend's or the same as mine. Experiences are what you make of them, as an individual. But no matter who you are, you can always learn and grow from them. I certainly have.
Here are some of those experiences.
Weight gainOur school is surrounded by delicious and easy fast food restaurants, including McDonald's, Little Cesear's Pizza, an assortment of Mexican food joints, and a stand that sells unbelievably tasty bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
It's really no surprise then, that I've packed on some unwanted pounds. Couple that with the lack of time to set aside for exercise, and I've begun to feel like a real tub o' lard.
While it's easy enough to say that I'll pack a lunch, or grab a healthier option instead, it's too easy to fall for these temptations when you're so busy running around, performing services, taking tests, and rushing through lunch time to start on a new client. Sometimes, with the chaos of the salon, girls don't even see food until it's time to go home.
But on those days that I do take the time to blend up a smoothy or fix a chicken salad, I feel more energized and enthusiastic. I know that working in a real salon will only bring bigger challenges, but feeling this way isn't worth it.
Falling Prey to the Easy Way OutNot everyone at school cares to learn the right, proper way to do things, and corners are definitely cut. It's a terrible reality of going to school. The mentality runs something like this:
"If so-and-so says that so-and-so did such-and-such to finish this-or-that, then why should I have to do it the long way?"
Don't let that mentality plague your mind. Especially when the health and safety of you and your clients is on the line. Take the time to learn things the right way, and ask questions to clear up your confusion. Otherwise, you're not going to be getting clients, and those that you do get, won't be happy with you. Just the other day, I witnessed a client who was more than peeved by her poor service, all of which would've been prevented if the tech had done it properly. Learn it the right way! Otherwise, you'll wind up making enemies among those that are taking the time to do it correctly, and they might just be your boss some day.
Rumors, Drama and CattinessThis is probably the worst and most prevalent experience I've seen in nail school, and any cosmetologist would probably agree. Thankfully, my smaller night classes saw only a fraction of what the regular sessions experienced, but hearing about it put me on edge nonetheless.
I'll admit it, I participated in some smack talking behind backs. Only here's the thing...I never felt good about it. So why do it? Think of the image you're portraying by doing that, and put a stop to it right away. It's never worth it, and you're only perpetuating a negative image across your coworkers.
TheftFrom day one, I was warned to always keep my belongings close, and my personal items locked up. With so many expensive products and tools floating around, things go 'missing'. My school's been experiencing so much dishonesty and costly thievery that they've installed cameras pointing in every direction. Knowing you're being watched is an awful, "big brother is watching" kind of feeling, and knowing you're working with someone who doesn't give a second thought to swiping hundreds of dollars of products leaves a terrible taste in your mouth.
Crying...So Much CryingI've never cried while in nail school. I came into it more prepared with my background in nails, so lessons weren't as difficult for me.
However, the gallons of tears I've seen coming from other girls is pretty astonishing. Some cry because of how clients treat them, some for how students treat them. Some cry in frustration, others in pure anger. Several ladies were pregnant, so I can't imagine what their hormones were doing to them the whole time.
So if you're a crier, or set off easily by other criers, get yourself emotionally ready. The ups and downs are a true test, and how you emotionally handle it is read and remembered by everyone.
Leaving a Fellow Student BehindComradery and teamwork isn't inherent in nail school. At least not in mine.
There's always something to do around the salon, and it's not necessarily something you are responsible for. For example, if, on the way back to her station, a fellow student spills some of the water from her manicure bowl onto the floor, she should be the one to clean it up. But what if she doesn't? Someone who sees it, would presumably wipe it up on their way by.
Unfortunately, that's not the reality. Too many times it's just left there until it evaporates, or until the person who's assigned to that cleaning duty must clean it.
This kind of thinking creates a terrible atmosphere and an inefficient, clunky machine held together with duct tape. Build your own personal skills, and help others around you. Whether it's suggesting a quicker (AND proper) way to do things, setting up a station for someone who's swamped, or just spending your free time keeping busy, it makes a difference.
ConclusionThe road to becoming a nail tech is not easy, and there's sinkholes at every turn, waiting to swallow you up if you're not dedicated and tough. But if you stick with it, and work to better yourself and your skills, it'll pay off in spades.
Be better, be braver, and be intelligent. Your future will thank you for it.