Nails 101: A Student Blog

Week 1: Getting Started

by Gregory Fletcher | September 9, 2019 | Bookmark +

I survived my first week of nail school!

Well, I assumed that I would. But you never know!

The nail technology program I am enrolled in is part of the San Diego City Community College Cosmetology Department. The college itself is a sprawling campus spread out over several city blocks near the San Diego Downtown area. One literally needs a map to navigate about the place; yet even with a map finding specific locations can still be a challenge. (Note: I’ve found that when reading a map it helps to orient the map correctly so you don’t start out going in the opposite direction you really want to go.) Fortunately, the Cosmetology Department is centralized in one building on the perimeter of the campus. So once I found the correct building I was good to go.

Trivia note: A famous alumnus of San Diego City College is the American film director Cameron Crowe. He also happens to be an alumnus (briefly) of my high school as well. He later documented some of the high school’s happenings in his book and movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Check it out.

On the first day of class I successfully found a nearby parking space, which I took as a good omen, and made it to class in ample time. (I hate arriving late, especially the first day. You only get one chance to make a first impression. And I definitely did not want that first impression to be of someone who can’t even find a classroom.)

I arrived in time to select a desk (near the front, but not quite the first row) and spent the time waiting for class by reviewing my text book and surreptitiously watching the other students arrive. And they kept coming and coming and coming. The class is huge! At last count there were 45± Tech I students (the first session), and that is not counting the handful of Tech II students also in the classroom. Fortunately the classroom is large since it also includes the salon where students practice their skills on clients and on each other. Still, the classroom is very crowded and navigating about takes some planning and nimbleness.

As expected, the first week was spent with orientation issues. Three teachers share the instructional duties; and they each acknowledged that with a class of our size it will take some time for them to learn all the students’ names. (As the sole male student in the class, I seem to be the exception. Time will tell whether that is a good or bad thing.)

Despite the usual confusion of the first days of class and the extended time required for roll call (the teachers don’t even bother calling my name out loud for me to respond… “Yup, Gregory’s here.”), the teachers did manage to lecture us on the introductory topics of the nail industry, infection control, and nail anatomy. The second week we are scheduled to have exams on the first week’s materials. We also will have our first labs, which will be on artificial tips and manicuring. Although we understand the importance of the introductory theory topics, I think everyone is anxious to begin the hands-on practical lessons.

During the first week we were finally allowed to open our school nail kits. (I’ve included a photo of the kit’s contents.) While the kit includes a lot of stuff, we were also provided an extensive list of additional items to purchase. So it looks like I will be on a scavenger hunt over the next several days hunting down the remaining items (including a first aid kit – yikes!).


I have also included a picture of our textbooks, which will probably be a source of nostalgia for many readers.

Thank you for reading this second installment of my nail school adventures. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Au revoir for now! 

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