The Nail School Diaries: Part 2: Amie’s First Day At School

Dexter’s LabDexter’s Lab

The Beauty Changes Lives|CND|Tippi Hedren Scholarship for those in nail school helps out students looking to make ends meet – and in many instances, helps make dreams a reality. In its inaugural year, the scholarship selected 10 deserving winners from an assortment of essay and video entries, and gave each of them a full–ride to the school of their choice up to $5000.

Excited to see this money make a tangible difference in the life of the winner, we decided to see if the winners would give us an inside scoop on their nail school experience – from first-day jitters, to the finer details of the process. Meet student Amie Pollard as she begins her regular blog for us about her new venture.

Amie’s first night at school

When 4:30 rolled around on that first Tuesday night, that’s when the butterflies set in. I arrived fairly early, which is fine, since you don’t really want to be late on your first day!  Including myself there are 4 people in my class; 3 women and 1 man. We all got set up on the time clock that keeps track of our required hours and we were ready to go. I walked into the room feeling nervous, not knowing what to expect. It had been 6 years since I sat in a classroom. My nervous butterflies turned into excited butterflies as soon as I saw the “pièce de résistance” our OPI school kits! I registered for school in February, so after waiting 5 months to get my hands on this kit I could almost feel my mouth watering. It was all I could do not to tear it open!

We went over a few papers for our files, did introductions, and then we got to go through our cases. This was a true test in self-control, as our teacher specifically asked us not to go ahead as we went through them together. We had to inventory our kit to make sure everything was there. You know that “new car smell?”  Well, these kits have a strange, kind of delicious “new” smell of their own. I’m sure all of you nail enthusiasts and professionals can understand what I’m saying! Now, even though I was excited about the kit, what I really wanted most of all was to see our textbook. Unfortunately, they were misplaced in the mail and did not arrive until that Thursday. Ah well, c’est la vie.

After we went over paperwork and went through our kits we got down to business and started our first chapter in our books (photocopied books that is). What needs to be understood is that many states only require between 100-600 hours (some are more or less) for nail technician courses, so generally the courses are very short. We learn a chapter and test out on it each week. You take in a lot of information in a short amount of time.

As you can imagine the first week of school can be a little hectic and things don’t always go according to plan. We finished reading the chapter in class the next day and tested out on it on Thursday. After our test (which I scored 100 on, thank you!) our teacher demonstrated our first practical lesson: the basic manicure. Everything you think you know about manicures is WRONG. Ok, so maybe not everything, and maybe it’s just me, but I was amazed at how many steps there truly are to doing a proper basic manicure. From the set-up to the steps themselves I took 4 pages of notes. I always defined a manicure as remove old polish, clean your nails, and paint with new polish.  Thankfully we are allowed to have index cards with us in the beginning with our steps listed on them. By the end of the program they want us to have our manicures down to 30 minutes with a 5 minute set-up and 10 minute breakdown in between each service. Now I know that sounds crazy; I thought so too. Over the weekend after that first week I did 3 practice manicures and they each took me an hour. “Um, 30 minutes?” I thought. “Are you crazy?” My teacher MUST have misspoken. No, she did not. I’m now in my 3rd week of school and my manicures are down to about 40 minutes. That’s a 20 minute cut in time in just 2 weeks. You can’t be hard on yourself when you’re in your freshman phase because we are all amateurs in the beginning (even brain surgeons started out as interns).

One of the first tips our teacher gave us was to practice at home. If you solely depend on the time in class to practice, it’s going to be more difficult for you. Even if you can only practice once a week at home, it is one more chance for you to better your skills!

Since I was not able to take any pictures my first week of school I decided to put together a video slideshow for you all to see what came in my kit. I know a lot of people are interested in seeing these, even if they don’t plan on attending school. We received everything that day except for our wrap kits, which were on back order. They came in time for me to do this video so I included them as well! I also included some things that I decided to add to my kit for home practice. Most things that you need you can get at your local dollar store (even a foot basin!). I hope you enjoy. See you next week! -Amie


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