Nails 101: A Student Blog

Meet A'Kia!

by A'Kia Warrior | February 10, 2016

My name is A’Kia Warrior, and I am currently enrolled in the Nailcare Program at the International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy (ISSNMT) in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to being a student in this program, I am a full-time human resources professional. Prior to enrolling in ISSNMT’s program, I have been in the human resources field for 15 years. I absolutely love it, but there was a passion brewing that I didn’t expect to hit me.

I have been having nail-care services performed since I was a teenager, and I can remember always being curious about what was going on and why things were the way that they were. A lot of ladies relax at these appointments, but I have always sat up to watch and ask questions. One day in 2015, I sat down and realized that this was something that I wanted to do professionally. Thinking about how much I spend on my own nail care, and not really knowing if I was receiving the best of the best, I wanted to find out. I knew that this would allow me to do something that excites me and the potential of this opportunity could be greater than I have ever imagined. I also knew that in order to gain credibility in the industry my first step was to become a licensed nail technician, so I started my search for the school that would fit my needs.

I reached out to a few schools about their programs, but it was ISSNMT that I settled on. From the moment I had my first interaction with the admission’s coach to the day that I filled out all of the paperwork, it felt right. The staff has been very kind to me every step of the way. The Nailcare Program has a day option and an evening option. Due to me being a full-time professional, I knew the only option was for me to enroll in the evening program. It will take approximately eight months to graduate from the program if I follow the program as designed. I have classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.), plus a class Saturday (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.).

Once I become licensed, I plan to build my clientele through working part time in a salon and branding a mobile business that will convert to a storefront in 2017. I’m excited about the possibilities, and I intend to soak up all the knowledge that I can while in school.

Week 1 – 3 Summary

I am super excited to share my experiences during my time in the Nailcare Program. It was not an easy decision to make given my schedule and being a single mother, but with awesome support from family and friends it has thus far been a great journey. I am currently in my third week of my program, and it already seems like time is flying. I am learning so much!

During my first week of the program, I attended an orientation on the first day and we jumped right in thereafter. When I met with the director of my program, I received confirmation of my decision to make this move in my life. When I started I really did not know what to expect of the school, my peers, or my instructor. However, I was open to the possibilities, and I opened myself up to whatever could happen. Thus far, I have been treated with kindness, and my instructor is wonderful. She has so much industry experience, and she is truly interested in making sure that we are prepared for the State Boards and for the industry once we pass. In the first week I learned how to set up my station, learned the five basic nail shapes, and I got into general anatomy. I am so excited about all of this that I even showed up for class on that cold and snowy Jan. 23 morning ready to learn! Some might call me overly excited, but any time spent away from my daughter I have to make worthwhile, so I am diving right in.

Week two I learned how to perform the Express Manicure and the Hot Oil Manicure, and I even had the opportunity to perform the Express Manicure service myself! Now, I’m not the fastest at it yet because I have to nail down the technique, but I don’t give up on things that easily. I also learned how to apply gel-polish. I also took some time on Saturday to work on my oval shapes with my practice hand. For some reason the others are not as challenging for me to get, but this oval shape has been the hardest for me. But I think I’ve finally got it. What a little practice will do for you, right?

I am currently finishing up my third week of my program, and I cannot believe it — time is flying! We have wrapped up our discussion around general anatomy, and I have my first test next week. I am a little nervous because science was not my strongest subject in school, but I have been studying the material, and I believe that I will pass it. I also completed my first gel-polish fill-in. I didn’t even know that was an option. Whenever I have been in the salon where I get my own nails done, I have always seen the staff take all the gel-polish off and start with a clean nail bed. Go figure! But this is what I love about being in this program; I am learning something new every time I attend class.

I know everyone has their own personal experiences based on what they find important in a program or even in a school. However, my personal experience has been great thus far. Some people may say my thinking is somewhat clouded because I am new to this, but at this stage in my life I have learned that school is what YOU make of it. I am there to do a job, and that is to complete this program and finish on time while juggling my “right now” career — motherhood, community service, and all of the other commitments that I have in my life. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, and more recently my master’s, I know a thing or two about school. It’s never going to be 100 percent perfect. So if you find that I don’t spend a lot of time on the bad, please excuse me in advance. I have 29 more weeks to go and I’m on a mission to become one of the best to do it!

-- A'Kia

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