Friday, March 26, 2010


Please don't get me wrong. I LOVE going to cosmetology school and after nine short weeks I'm certain it was the right decision (actually after like 9 days. Once we got to start cutting hair I was gone!). I think it's fun, I love being around new people and I REALLY love making people feel better about themselves. Cosmetologists are their client's best friend, confidant, therapist, sounding board AND we make them look pretty. You might be the most important person in your client's life! I enjoy everything about beauty school. Great teachers, a wealth of knowledge to take advantage of and it's incredibly interesting (can't say that about algebra!),

But I don't understand how anyone finds the book material (also known as theory. And the physical work is called practical or an operation) hard. I've always been a good student, as long as the material interested me. That's a big part of why I waffled so long about going to beauty school. I wanted (and still do want) to finish a Bachelor's degree. As of right now I'm a little less than 3/4 done with a BA in literature. But between budget cuts at my college and a little ennui, I didn't want to finish right now because I honestly don't see doing anything I love with it (other than writing, but I don't want to be poor forever).

My logical side told me for years to just plug along and finish and get some job doing something other than schilling a product, but my heart wasn't in it at all. My plan now is to take one class at "big girl college" next semester, which will also be my last few months of cosmetology and 3-Day season. It's going to be incredibly busy, but I do want to get back into an academic class. Although now my focus is kind of shifting away from literature to something in business. I see the earning potential in a career in cosmetology and I'd like to own a salon in the next 5 to 7 years. Or at least have something to fall back on. The beauty industry isn't often negatively affected by economic downturn, but you never know.

Anyway, getting back to the point. We're 9 weeks into the curriculum, and have 7 or 8 theory tests under out belts. The tests are multiple choice, straight from the book and the whole system is designed to help you succeed. And yet I still see a lot of people struggle. I can say without a doubt that it comes down to lack of focus. Lack of focus during theory, lack of focus during review, lack of focus at home. I don't study a lot. I take my books home once a week (maybe). But I take full advantage of reviewing in class. I read extremely quickly, which may give me a slight advantage. I generally read the material once and highlight the key points, then read it again as I complete the study guide, then go over it a third time as the instructor goes over it with the class. So by the time we're done with the material I've read it three times before I'd even need to study for a test.

My point (and I do have one) is this: Cosmetology school takes less than a year to complete on a full time schedule (at least in California, I know it varies state-to-state, but I figure a year is about average). It is a get in, get out and start making money process. All that is asked of you is one year of moderately hard work. Once you start cosmetology school, find out who the best students are in whatever areas interest you most -- sculpture, hair design, color, texture, skin, nails, whatever -- and be like them. Ask them questions about how they study, find out from an instructor if you can shadow them, do whatever you can without being bothersome. The students that excel while in cosmetology school are going to excel when interviewing at salons, get their pick of where to work, will have more clients and will make more money faster.

Cosmetology school might be a great place to make friends, but first and foremost it's an educational institution. I assume that I might come out of this year with one or two lasting friendships. But my money and future happiness isn't riding on making new friends, it's on passing my state boards and getting to start a career that I'll love for a long time and that will make it financially and emotionally viable to raise a couple hypothetical kids and keep me in the lifestyle I've become accustomed to -- a fabulous one.

This is one of the best careers to write your own check. One year of hard work will open up limitless possibilities. If the world was your oyster, what would you do with it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A good beginning makes a good end. Hopefully.

Have you ever had an inkling that something might be the thing you've always wanted to do, but it was easier to not upset the status quo? Go find out. Chances are it IS, and you'll kick yourself for waiting around that long wasting time doing something that doesn't make you happy.

I want to be a lot of things when I grow up. I want to be a published writer (the dream is before I'm 30, so less than three years. Tick, tock). I want to be a vet. Animal, not war. That's not going to happen because I don't want to go through 4 years of med school and hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt and did you know sometimes animals DIE? Yeah. I'd get too emotionally invested. And for the better part of the last decade, I've wanted to work in the beauty industry. I've been freelancing with makeup for years, but due to needing a "real" job it always took a backseat. Until 8 weeks ago, when I began cosmetology school.

Anyway. I decided to marry my new found passion for hair with my long time passion for writing and blog this year. I'm a planner, a watcher, a thinker and before I toured my new school I tried to find out as much as I could about the experiences people had in cosmetology school. I didn't come up with a lot of organic content. Sure, schools and curriculums have websites that have student sound bites on them, but the schools are still responsible for editing that content. I wanted something in depth, to the point and to not pull any punches. I hope that maybe what I write can be that for somebody else, especially since I'm not exactly known for pulling punches.

I'm a little older than most of the girls at my school (and one boy). I'm 27, which I really view as a total advantage in this whole thing. I can focus, apply the lessons I've already learned and hopefully get through beauty school quickly and pass my state board the first try in January.

A few other things about me, because I guarantee this won't stay cosmo school focused the whole time (especially after I graduate in December); I am passionate about breast cancer research and education and prevention. In 2009 I did the Breast Cancer 3-Day (now known as the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure). I will for SURE be doing it again this year. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, and kind of the catalyst for going after what I want now. The 3-Day taught me about what kind of world I want to live in, starting with myself. I'm sarcastic and silly and love my friends. I love my family, even though they drive me crazy. I'm working my butt off to get in great shape (this is all kind of part of being the best version of myself before I'm 30). I'm planning on running a half marathon in January 2011 and a full in January 2012, so I'm sure they'll be posts about running and eating and working out and all that fun stuff.

And most of all, I'm excited for what this year is going to bring. I think my last couple years before 30 are going to be pretty incredible. Here's hoping!