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Nails 101: A Student Blog

Week 1: New Beginnings

by Orma Swearinger | August 9, 2016

Well, I made it through one week of nail school. Whew!  Let’s back up to see how my first week began. I spent most of my Sunday thinking about what a hectic schedule I will have from now until November. My life is already pretty busy and all I could think about was how much busier I am making it by starting school. I thought about all I had to do at work before going to school and how long my days will be four days a week. I kept asking myself if I was doing the right thing by starting school at this time. How would I go to work and school, do homework, study, practice what I will be learning each day, spend time with my family, prepare dinner, work out, and get enough sleep each day to get up and complete the same routine? My mind was all over the place. Finally, after talking about what I was thinking and feeling with my husband and daughter, I calmed down. They assured me that they will help me out around the house as much as possible. They told me to stop thinking about so much at once and to only think of taking one day at a time. That same advice had been given to me by one of my friends who completed her master’s degree while working a full-time job and being a wife and mom. 

I didn’t get much sleep the night before my first day of school. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get to sleep because I was so excited about starting school. I felt like the 5-year-old version of myself on the first day of kindergarten! 

Day one of nail school started with me waking up at 4:15 AM. I went to at work at 5:00 AM for the start of a special project. That was much earlier than normal, but I made it through work off of adrenaline. I couldn’t wait to get to school. For the entire drive to school, I was thinking about how it would feel when I finally walk in the class and sit in my seat. I was so ready to be a human sponge. I envisioned myself sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to grab every single word that would come out of my instructor’s mouth, as if it would be the last morsel of life-saving food that I would ever get. When I arrived, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, my instructor greeted me. She explained to me that all of the students in the class were very close to completing the course and they would be preparing for the Mock Board the next two days. She also explained how much I would learn from watching the Mock Board. Honestly, after hearing that, it felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and knocked the air out of me. That wasn’t how I expected my first day to go. I wasn’t a happy camper, but I kept my disappointment to myself and tuned in to what was going on in the class. After all, I had to remember that I actually started class two weeks before the other new students are expected to arrive. My instructor was right, I learned so much from watching the ladies go through the Mock Board. I took a lot of notes that will be used when I get to those certain parts of the course. The rest of my week went pretty well. We learned how to do a waterless manicure. My instructor used me as the model. I had planned to do my nails the day before I started school, but I decided to wait. I’m so happy that I did. I learned something new while being pampered and walked away with a beautiful manicure. Oh how that made my day!  

On the last day of class for the week, we had a “fun day.” Our instructor demonstrated how to do a sculptured nail – the edge style. It was gorgeous. Afterward, she sent everyone to their desks to do the same type of nail. Since I am new and have absolutely no experience at doing any type of nail, my instructor gave me supplies and tools and showed me how to do the basic acrylic nail. She asked me if I wanted to give it a try on my own. Of course, being the type of person who thinks I can do anything, I said yes.    

I opened the monomer and acrylic powder and was ready to build what I thought would be the best nail ever. The smell of the monomer bothered me right away and my nose started running. Although I am in nail school, I still think like a chemist. I kept thinking that I should be using this stuff under a fume hood in a lab. I eventually started building the acrylic nail. After a few minutes, I looked at what I had created and all I could do was laugh at myself. The nail was lumpy and had no shape at all. I called my instructor over to show her the nail. She picked up my brush to show me how to clean up the edges of the nail. That’s when she noticed that I had done the “terrible awful” to my brush. The bristles on my brush were hardened almost to the point of no return. Epic fail! She explained to me how that happened and that I would always need to keep my brush clean and wet with monomer while applying the acrylic. Needless to say, I had done a number on that brush. We had to leave the brush soaking overnight in order to get it back in a workable condition. Note to self: “Always make every experience, both good and bad, a learning experience.” Lesson learned. 

I am so happy that I have one week of school under my belt. I enjoyed learning all of the new things and I look forward to what week two will hold. One thing that I know for sure is that while I want to do my best and be the best at everything, there will be times that I will not get it right on the first, second, or even third try. The most important thing is to not take myself so seriously that I become frustrated and discouraged. I am happy that I was brave enough to try something new and that I was able to laugh at myself when I didn’t get it right. Week one is now in the books. I welcome week two with open arms. 

~ Orma

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