My graduation flowers: chosen because I was elected "Most Colorful Hair and Clothes" at my school. Seems appropriate.
I've completed my state board exams and all required hours of training as well as far more than the minimum number of times that the state requires for each individual service. (By the time I got out of school, I was nearly 600 haircuts in).
What have I learned? My Grandpa always taught me not to let any year of my life go by, not to let any difficult experience pass, without learning something, for if I didn't learn anything, that time that I spent, the pain that I went through, had been for naught.
Since September 2012, I have learned plenty.
I've learned that 1500 hours is significantly longer than it sounds.
I've learned that if I ever own a business, I will make treating my employees and clients who pay to keep my business going with grace and respect a top priority--this would include providing employees and clients with clean restroom facilities. Pinching pennies and making an extra buck wherever you can is not worth making everyone who knows the way you run your business hate you.
I've learned that a strict dress code is just another word for "cruel and unusual punishment." But that's just me. I know lots of people in the world live with dress codes and enjoy their life but, man, that's gotta be tough. Wearing all black is cool once in a while, but 4 days a week for months on end wears me out.
I've learned that when you work in a service profession, some of your clients are going to treat you very poorly, and other clients are going to act like you're the the best part of their day. Sometimes the mean ones will give you really good tips, and sometimes the good ones won't leave you any tip at all, but you don't mind because they are a pleasure to serve. People are funny. The good ones make up for the bad ones, and the interesting clients are the best of all.
It's the experiences that stretch you, that get you out of your comfort zone, that you will be most proud of. I recently had a client who didn't speak a word of English. They assigned her to me, because I understand Spanish better than any of the other cosmetology students. I quickly discovered that my cosmetology-related Spanish is not that great, and that her Peruvian Spanish sounded slightly different than the Mexican accents I'm used to. But I did manage to understand what she wanted, and I was able to let her know that I understood. She left happy, and I was proud--that experience taught me that even though I might not be fluent, I was able to handle a Spanish-speaking client and give her the haircut she wanted. Hurray!
I've learned that I really, really love writing. My passion is for working with words. I never get enough of it. During slow times at school I'm constantly jotting down ideas and outlines for blog posts or magazine articles that I want to write, and when I get home, I can't wait to get on the computer and start typing away. Funny how it took beauty school to teach me that.
I also learned how to perm, cut hair, change its color, and give an enjoyable facial, manicure, or pedicure. I've also learned that I never, ever want to go to a salon to get my hair permed, colored, or higlighted, and that I will never get acrylic nails or a pedicure. Learning about all those chemicals and the negative impact that they have on the health of your hair and skin was an eye-opener for me. Add to that everything I learned about salon prices and sanitizing procedures, and I'm even more likely to stay away. This doesn't mean I won't put crazy colors back in my hair--I'll get Angel or Lizzy to help me do that at home someday. And I'll keep painting my own nails and toenails. But you probably won't catch me in a salon unless I'm working!
Furthermore, I did NOT learn how to wax eyebrows. I simply refused. I'm not a fan of hot wax + skin.